New paper on trait biogeography of marine copepods

Tuesday 11 Oct 16


Mark Payne
Senior Researcher
DTU Aqua
+45 35 88 34 22


Thomas Kiørboe
DTU Aqua
+45 35 88 34 01

We have produced the first ever global maps of key traits of copepods, the dominant group of zooplankton, by combining geo-located observations of hundreds of taxa that have been made throughout the past century with trait data compiled from the literature. 

As expected by theory, we found copepods in the subtropical ocean deserts to be smaller than their neighbors living at the equator, while the giants occurred in cooler waters of temperate and particularly polar seas with their strongly expressed seasonal cycles. Similarly, we found contrasts in the global distribution of reproduction, feeding and defense strategies, and many of these patterns could be explained by environmental variations. To our surprise, however, we also observed large, unexplained differences in trait distributions between ocean basins, for example between the South Atlantic and the Indian Ocean. Better comprehending the connection between climate and the shape of plankton communities is crucial to understand how life in the oceans is affected by climate change, and mapping the global ecology of copepods is an important step towards that goal.

The paper can be found here

Brun, P. Payne M. R., and Kiørboe, T. (2016) Trait biogeography of marine copepods - an analysis across scales. Ecol. Lett., doi:10.1111/ele.12688
21 FEBRUARY 2020