Bridging the gap between marine biogeochemical and fisheries sciences; configuring the zooplankton link

Aditee Mitra, Claudia Castellani, Wendy Gentleman, Sigrun Jonasdottir, Kevin J. Flynn, Antonio Bode, Claudia Halsband, Penelope Kuhn, Priscilla Licandro, Mette Dalgaard Agersted, Albert Calbet, Penelope Lindeque, Rolf Koppelmann, Eva Friis Møller, Torkel Gissel Nielsen, Michael St. John, Astthor Gislason

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Exploring climate and anthropogenic impacts on marine ecosystems requires an understanding of how trophic components interact. However, integrative end-to-end ecosystem studies (experimental and/or modelling) are rare. Experimental investigations often concentrate on a particular group or individual species within a trophic level, while tropho-dynamic field studies typically employ either a bottom-up approach concentrating on the phytoplankton community or a top-down approach concentrating on the fish community. Likewise the emphasis within modelling studies is usually placed upon phytoplankton-
dominated biogeochemistry or on aspects of fisheries regulation. In consequence the roles of zooplankton communities (protists and metazoans) linking phytoplankton and fish communities are typically under-represented if not (especially in fisheries models) ignored. Where represented in ecosystem
models, zooplankton are usually incorporated in an extremely simplistic fashion, using empirical descriptions merging various interacting physiological functions governing zooplankton growth and development, and thence ignoring physiological feedback mechanisms. Here we demonstrate, within a
modelled plankton food-web system, how trophic dynamics are sensitive to small changes in parameter values describing zooplankton vital rates and thus the importance of using appropriate zooplankton descriptors. Through a comprehensive review, we reveal the mismatch between empirical understanding
and modelling activities identifying important issues that warrant further experimental and modelling investigation. These include: food selectivity, kinetics of prey consumption and interactions with assimilation and growth, form of voided material, mortality rates at different age-stages relative to prior nutrient history. In particular there is a need for dynamic data series in which predator and prey of known nutrient history are studied interacting under varied pH and temperature regimes
Original languageEnglish
JournalProgress in Oceanography
Issue numberPart B
Pages (from-to)176-199
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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