RNA content of copepods as a tool for determining adult growth rates in the field

Saiz, Enric, Albert Calbet, Angela Fara, Elisa Berdalet

Limnol. Oceanogr., 43(3), 1998, 465-470 | DOI: 10.4319/lo.1998.43.3.0465

ABSTRACT: We propose a method to determine growth rates of adult copepods based on their nucleic acid contents. We investigated the suitability of this method on the marine copepod Acartia gruni in a range of food concentrations and temperatures. There was a good linear relationship between growth rate (estimated as egg production) and RNA contents of the adult copepods. The slope of the relationship was dependent on temperature. We also built a multiple regression model to predict egg production rates of A. grani as a function of RNA contents and temperature. This method allows very intensive field sampling and does not require incubations onboard. Samples are preserved frozen and analyzed in the laboratory using a very sensitive fluorometric technique that allows working with small numbers of individuals of the desired species.

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