Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Journal Of Plankton Research
Zooplankton carcasses are ubiquitous in marine and freshwater systems, implicating the importance of non-predatory mortality, but both are often overlooked in ecological studies compared with predatory mortality. The development of several microscopic methods allows the distinction between live and dead zooplankton in field samples, and the reported percentages of dead zooplankton average 11.6 (minimum) to 59.8 (maximum) in marine environments, and 7.4 (minimum) to 47.6 (maximum) in fresh and inland waters. Common causes of non-predatory mortality among zooplankton include senescence, temperature change, physical and chemical stresses, parasitism and food-related factors. Carcasses resulting from non-predatory mortality may undergo decomposition leading to an increase in microbial production and a shift in microbial composition in the water column. Alternatively, sinking carcasses may contribute significantly to vertical carbon flux especially outside the phytoplankton growth seasons, and become a food source for the benthos. Global climate change is already altering freshwater ecosystems on multiple levels, and likely will have significant positive or negative effects on zooplankton non-predatory mortality. Better spatial and temporal studies of zooplankton carcasses and non-predatory mortality rates will improve our understanding of this important but under-appreciated topic.
Small-Scale Turbulence; Non-Calanoid Copepods; Aggregates Lake Snow; Daphnia-Galeata; Midsummer Decline; Nonconsumptive Mortality; Crustacean Zooplankton; Climate-Change; Vertical-Distribution; Population-Growth
Tang, KW; Gladyshev, MI; Dubovskaya, OP; Kirillin, G; and Grossart, HP, Zooplankton carcasses and non-predatory mortality in freshwater and inland sea environments (2014). Journal Of Plankton Research, 36(3), 597-612.