Browsing All Posts filed under »plankton«

Once more from the top

December 21, 2017

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Top-down trophic cascades are population-level effects transmitted along food chains, from consumers down to primary producers.  In a typical three-level food chain the loss of top predators (for example, as a result of human exploitation) allows herbivore populations to increase, which in turn reduces populations of algae or higher plants.   However, few studies have considered […]

Ironing out harmful algal blooms

September 25, 2017

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An understanding of how iron affects the supply of nutrients in aquatic systems may open the door to better success in managing harmful algal blooms. In highly productive lakes, the release of phosphorus stored in the bottom sediment can encourage bloom development, but nutrient release is retarded in the presence of iron, which precipitates phosphorus […]

How cell size affects algal chemicals

September 25, 2017

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The chemical composition of microalgae – organisms such as green algae, diatoms and dinoflagellates – influences their food web interactions and the way they compete for nutrients, as well as their suitability for human exploitation in the form of biofuels, nutraceuticals and aquaculture feeds.   Because microalgae cover a wide range of cell sizes (less than […]

Plankton migration is system-dependent

June 19, 2017

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Lake zooplankton commonly switch microhabitats on a regular day-night basis by migrating horizontally between stands of vegetation and open waters, or by migrating vertically between deep and surface waters. These movements have been explained in terms of the need to avoid predators (especially fish) and excessive ultraviolet radiation.  However, although zooplankton are known to seek […]

How the terrestrial landscape affects aquatic dispersal

June 19, 2017

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How does the surrounding terrestrial landscape affect the dispersal of pond-dwelling organisms? Although some studies suggest that small aquatic crustaceans can disperse efficiently across a range of intervening environments, other work has pointed to dispersal limitation, especially over large distances.  Czech researchers examined the passive dispersal of microcrustaceans (cladocerans, copepods, and ostracods) by comparing communities […]

Predators concentrate on current-concentrated prey

December 13, 2016

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In marine environments, recirculating eddies, upwellings and downwellings play an important role in concentrating plankton in small areas, a process that attracts predators such as fish, mammals and birds and boosts ecological productivity significantly above background levels. However, much less is known about the ways in which physical processes may concentrate organisms and intensify food-web […]

Top predator boosts species richness – but not in alien ecosystems

December 13, 2016

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The spiny water flea Bythotrephes longimanus is a large cladoceran, a specialised carnivore and a top predator. Invasions of North American lakes by Bythotrephes have been linked to dramatic changes in food web structure and reductions in species diversity, which seems to contradict the expectation that top predators increase the evenness and diversity of aquatic […]