Marine Biology

, Volume 48, Issue 3, pp 207–213 | Cite as

Diel trophic interactions between vertically-migrating zooplankton and their fish predators in an eelgrass community

  • A. I. Robertson
  • R. K. Howard


Diel changes in the composition of crustacean zooplankton and the diets of fish predators from an intertidal eelgrass flat were monitored concurrently. The zooplankton is characterized by two major components. The obligate zooplankters (holoplanktonic calanoid copepods and meroplanktonic decapod larvae) appear to exhibit vertical migration, being present in higher densities near the surface of the water column at night. The facultative zooplankton (amphipods and ostracods) are benthic during the day, but move up into the water column at night. Planktivorous midwaterdwelling fish consume calanoid copepods and decapod larvae during the day and cease feeding or switch their diet to amphipods at night. Benthic-dwelling fish consume some amphipods during both day and night. The factors important in prey selection by fish and the functional significance of vertical migration in both components of the zooplankton are discussed in the light of the changing patterns of fish predation.


Migration Water Column Functional Significance Vertical Migration Fish Predator 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. I. Robertson
    • 1
  • R. K. Howard
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia

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