Aquatic Sciences Meeting, Albuquerque 2001
|SS24 The Ecology of Pelagic Gelatinous Zooplankton|
|Date: Monday, February 12, 2001, Time: 4:45:00 PM|
|Osborn, T, R, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA, email@example.com|
|Barber, R, T, Duke University, Beaufort, USA, firstname.lastname@example.org|
|WHY ARE LARGE, DELICATE, GELATINOUS ORGANISMS SO SUCCESSFUL IN THE OCEANíS INTERIOR?|
|A recent accomplishment of biological oceanography is the discovery that the pelagic ocean has an extremely abundant fauna of large, delicate, gelatinous organisms. This large gossamer design has been exploited by several phyla, emphasizing the adaptive advantage of this unusual life form. The design has one large vulnerability: Habitats with strong shearing motions destroy these delicate organisms. As a result, this design is absent in coastal waters, least prevalent in turbulent polar waters, and only occasionally abundant in pelagic surface waters. |
What makes this body plan so successful in the ocean interior?
We suggest the design is successful in the ocean interior for two reasons.
1) It provides a feeding benefit that cannot be obtained with a more compact body design since the relative motion between predator and prey, and the volume from which the predator removes food both increase with the size of the predator.
2) Large, gelatinous organisms have very little food value for their size, making them an unrewarding target for predators big enough to engulf them while they are a dangerous target for small predators.
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