Zooplankton growth rates: the influence of female size and resources on egg production of tropical marine copepods
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Egg production was measured in 17 species of copepods from the genera Acartia, Calanopia, Centropages, Clausocalanus, Corycaeus, Eucheata, Euterpina, Oithona, Oncaea, Paracalanus, Parvocalanus, Temora and Undinula in Jamaican waters. At the high local temperatures (∼28 °C), mean egg production ranged from 3.2 to 88 eggs female–1 d–1, and instantaneous female growth (g, as egg production) ranged from 0.04 to 0.87 d–1. Female growth was positively related to ambient chlorophyll concentration (r 2 = 0.44) and negatively to female body size (r 2 = 0.29). Together these two variables explained 60% of the variation in growth. When quadratic terms for chlorophyll and a term for interaction of body size and chlorophyll were introduced, 82% of the variance in growth rate was explained. Egg production rates represent an extension of the resource and size-dependent relationship established for copepodites. In smaller species (<3.5 μg), egg production was comparable to prior copepodite somatic growth; in larger species (>3.5 μg), egg production is compromised at lower resource concentrations than copepodite somatic growth. Thus, it appears that egg production in tropical copepods may be frequently limited by resources in a size-dependent manner. Under conditions where growth is resource limited, we caution against the application of egg production rates for the calculation of total copepod production.
KeywordsChlorophyll Chlorophyll Concentration Somatic Growth Female Size Female Body Size
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