Grazing in a turbulent environment: behavioral response of a calanoid copepod, Centropages hamatus. Academic Article uri icon


  • Models of marine ecosystem productivity rely on estimates of small-scale interactions, particularly those between copepods and their algal food sources. Rothschild and Osborn [Rothschild, B. J. & Osborn, T. R. (1988) J. Plankton Res. 10, 465-474], hypothesized that small-scale turbulence in aquatic systems increases the perceived abundance of prey to predators. We tested this hypothesis by exposing the planktonic copepod Centropages hamatus to turbulent and nonturbulent environments at different prey concentrations. Our results fell into two main categories. First, the response to turbulence was characterized by an initial period having a high number of escape reactions. This period was followed by one of increased foraging. C. hamatus responded to the higher encounter rates due to turbulence as if it were experiencing altered prey concentrations. Second, the termination of turbulence resulted in an increased foraging response, which was not directly related to the encounter rate. Functional response curves do not adequately explain this foraging response because the time course of the foraging response depends on prior encounter experience and foraging motivation.

publication date

  • March 1990