The Physiology and Ecology of Diapause in Marine Copepods. Academic Article uri icon


  • Diapause is a type of dormancy that requires preparation, typically precedes the onset of unfavorable conditions, and necessitates a period of arrest before development can proceed. Two ecologically important groups of copepods have incorporated diapausing stages into their life histories. In freshwater, estuarine, and coastal environments, species within the Centropagoidea superfamily can produce resting eggs containing embryos that may be quiescent, diapausing, or in some intermediate state. Resting eggs sink into the sediments, remain viable over months to years, and form a reservoir from which the planktonic population is reestablished. In coastal and oceanic environments, copepods within the Calanidae and Eucalanidae families can enter diapause during late juvenile (copepodid) or adult stages. These copepods accumulate large amounts of lipids before they migrate into deep water and diapause for several months. Through respiration, diapausing copepods may sequester more carbon in the deep ocean than any other biogeochemical process, and changes in diapause phenology associated with climate change (particularly reduction in diapause duration) could have a significant impact not only on regional ecosystems, but on global climate as well.

publication date

  • January 3, 2017