Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Copepods are small crustaceans that dominate most zooplankton communities in terms of both abundance and biomass. In the polar oceans, a subset of large lipid-storing copepods occupy central positions in the food web because of their important role in linking phytoplankton and microzooplankton with higher trophic levels. In this paper, we generated a high-quality de novo transcriptome for Rhincalanus gigas, the largest—and among the most abundant—of the Southern Ocean copepods. We then conducted transcriptional profiling to characterize the developmental transition between late-stage juveniles and adult females. We found that juvenile R. gigas substantially upregulate lipid synthesis and glycolysis pathways relative to females, as part of a developmental gene expression program that also implicates processes such as muscle growth, chitin formation, and ion transport. This study provides the first transcriptional profile of a developmental transition within Rhincalanus gigas or any endemic Southern Ocean copepod, thereby extending our understanding of copepod molecular physiology.
Southern Ocean, Zooplankton, Lipid metabolism, Development, Molting
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Berger, Cory A.; Steinberg, Deborah K.; Copley, Nancy; and Tarrant, Ann M., De novo transcriptome assembly of the Southern Ocean copepod Rhincalanus gigas sheds light on developmental changes in gene expression (2021). Marine Genomics, 58(100835).