Marine Biology

, Volume 56, Issue 2, pp 111–134

Physioecology of zooplankton. I. Effects of phytoplankton concentration, temperature, and body size on the growth rate of Calanus pacificus and Pseudocalanus sp.

  • J. Vidal

DOI: 10.1007/BF00397129

Cite this article as:
Vidal, J. Mar. Biol. (1980) 56: 111. doi:10.1007/BF00397129


Changes in dry weight and in weight-specific growth rates were measured for copepodite stages of Calanus pacificus Brodsky and Pseudocalanus sp. cultured under various combinations of phytoplankton concentration and temperature. Mean dry weight of early copepodites was relatively unaffected by either food concentration or temperature, but mean dry weight of late stages increased hyperbolically with food concentration and was inversely related to temperature. The food concentration at which maximum body weight was attained increased with increasing temperature and body size, and it was considerably higher for C. pacificus than for Pseudocalanus sp. This suggests that final body size of small species of copepods may be determined primarily by temperature, whereas final body size of large species may be more dependent on food concentration than on temperature. Individual body weight increased sigmoidally with age. The weight-specific growth rate increased hyperbolically with food concentration. The maximum growth rate decreased logarithmically with a linear increase in body weight, and the slope of the lines was proportional to temperature. The critical food concentration for growth increased with body size proportionally more at high than at low temperature, and it was considerably higher for C. pacificus than for Pseudocalanus sp. Because of these interactions, early copepodites optimized growth at high temperature, even at low food concentrations, but under similar food conditions late stages attained higher growth at low temperature. The same growth patterns were found for both species, but the rates were significantly higher for the larger species, C. pacificus, than for the smaller one, Pseudocalanus sp. On the basis of findings in this study and of analyses of relationships between the maximum growth rate, body size, and temperature from other studies it is postulated (1) that the extrapolation of growth rates from one species to another on the basis of similarity in body size is not justified, even for taxonomically related species; (2) that the allometric model is inadequate for describing the relationship between the maximum weight-specific growth rate and body size at the intraspecific level; (3) that the body-size dependence of this rate is strongly influenced by temperature; and (4) that species of zooplankton seem to be geographically and vertically distributed, in relation to body size and food availability, to optimize growth rates at various stages of their life cycles.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Vidal
    • 1
  1. 1.Oceanographic Sciences DivisionBrookhaven National LaboratoryUptonUSA