Calanus finmarchicus research is leading to better understanding of how the copepods power the Gulf of Maine ecosystem
C. finmarchicus copepods:
- dominate the zooplankton community in the Gulf of Maine.
- are one-eyed crustaceans that grow about 3 millimeters long.
- devour the spring blooms in the Gulf of Maine.
- are omnivores, eating diatoms and phytoplankton, and preying on smaller zooplankton.
- have tremendous reproduction capacity, with each female releasing 3,000 or more fertilized eggs into the water column.
- have a complex 12-stage life history that includes an overwintering dormancy called diapause.
- store up to nearly 70 percent of their body weight in lipids.
- are delectable to a range of fish and cetaceans — from herring to endangered northern right whales.
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