Swimming pattern as an indicator of the roles of copepod sensory systems in the recognition of food
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- Buskey, E.J. Mar. Biol. (1984) 79: 165. doi:10.1007/BF00951825
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The roles of copepod sensory systems in the recognition of food were investigated using the “Bugwatcher”, a video-computer system designed to track and describe quantitatively the swimming patterns of aquatic organisms. The swimming behavior of the copepodPseudocalanus minutus in the presence of phytoplankton is characterized by a decrease in average swimming speed and an increase in “pause” behaviors compared to its swimming behavior in filtered seawater. Copepods exposed to chemosensory stimulation alone (filtered phytoplankton exudate) exhibited an increase in average swimming speed and an increase in the number of “burst” swimming behaviors. When exposed to a novel, non-food chemosensory stimulus (morpholine), no change in swimming behavior was observed unless the copepods had been conditioned to this odor in the presence of phytoplankton. Copepods exposed to mechanosensory stimulation alone (plastic spheres) exhibited a decrease in swimming speed and an increase in pause behaviors. When exposed to both forms of stimulation simultaneously (phytoplankton exudate and plastic spheres), a further decrease in swimming speed and increase in pause behaviors occurs, yielding a swimming pattern similar to that found in the presence of phytoplankton. This analysis of swimming pattern indicates that both chemoreception and mechanoreception contribute to the recognition of food inP. minutus.