Marine Biology

, Volume 95, Issue 1, pp 103–113 | Cite as

Importance of food quality in determining development and survival of Calanus pacificus (Copepoda: Calanoida)

  • M. E. Huntley
  • P. Ciminiello
  • M. D. G. Lopez


Mixed zooplankton were collected in June and July of 1985 and 1986 from La Jolla Bay, California, USA, and experiments were conducted to determine how selected dinoflagellates affect development and survival of nauplius larvae of Calanus pacificus. We raised nauplii from eggs on nine species of dinoflagellates at concentrations generally >300 μg C l-1, and compared their development and survival to controls reared using the diatom Thalassiosira weissflogii or filtered seawater. Experiments were conducted for 6 d at 17°C. Development and survival rates of the nauplii fell clearly into one of two groups, depending upon the phytoplankton used as food. The first group was characterized by high development rate (0.46 to 0.84 stage d-1), and by >27% of the original cohort surviving to at least Nauplius IV or V. The five species producing this result were Gymnodinium simplex, G. splendens, Exuviaella marie-lebourae, Gyrodinium dorsum, and T. weissflogii. The second group was characterized by a development rate similar to that in filtered seawater (0.21 to 0.34 stage d-1), and by nauplii generally failing to molt past the first feeding stage (Nauplius III), often accompanied by high mortality. The five species producing this result were Gyrodinium resplendens, Ptychodiscus brevis, Glenodinium sp., Amphidinium carterae, and Gonyaulax grindleyi. Development rate and survival were not related to cell size or cell carbon, nor to shape or texture (thecate vs athecate dinoflagellates). Poor growth could be related to the absence of some important, but unidentified, nutritional factors. Alternatively, it could be caused by the presence of plant secondary metabolites which are deleterious to growth, a factor we suspect in P. brevis in particular. Prefeeding nauplii exposed to P. brevis lost neuromuscular control prior to becoming lethargic and dying; nutritional deficiencies may not explain these effects. Methods employed in this study provide useful bioassays for detecting chemical interactions between marine plants and animals. Lethal or sublethal effects of dinoflagellates on their most likely potential predators — copepods — may partially explain why they form significant blooms.


Phytoplankton Development Rate Dinoflagellate Nutritional Deficiency Poor Growth 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. E. Huntley
    • 1
  • P. Ciminiello
    • 2
  • M. D. G. Lopez
    • 3
  1. 1.Marine Biology Research Division, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, A-002University of CaliforniaSan Diego; La JollaUSA
  2. 2.Institute of Marine Resources, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, A-028University of CaliforniaSan Diego; La JollaUSA
  3. 3.Scripps Institution of Oceanography, A-008University of CaliforniaSan Diego; La JollaUSA

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