Copepod manipulation of oil droplet size distribution. Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Oil spills are one of the most dangerous sources of pollution in aquatic ecosystems. Owing to their pivotal position in the food web, pelagic copepods can provide crucial intermediary transferring oil between trophic levels. In this study we show that the calanoid Paracartia grani can actively modify the size-spectrum of oil droplets. Direct manipulation through the movement of the feeding appendages and egestion work in concert, splitting larger droplets (Ø?=?16?µm) into smaller ones (Ø?=?4-8?µm). The copepod-driven change in droplet size distribution can increase the availability of oil droplets to organisms feeding on smaller particles, sustaining the transfer of petrochemical compounds among different compartments. These results raise the curtain on complex small-scale interactions which can promote the understanding of oil spills fate in aquatic ecosystems.

publication date

  • January 24, 2019