A new Ocean Life paper shows that overwintering of the copepod Calanus hyperboreus contributes significantly to the sequestration of carbon. We propose a general method, based on metabolic theory, as to how a global inventory can be built for observation-poor species in other parts of the world’s oceans.
Across many parts of the world’s oceans, various species of copepods engage in lipid-fuelled overwintering in the deep dark reaches of ocean basins, where they enter a dormant state for many months of the year. Their respiration and mortality at depth appear to contribute significantly to the transport of carbon from the surface ocean to depth, and thus play a potentially important role in global carbon cycle. A difficulty arises as estimates of this transport rely critically on several poorly constrained quantities. In this work we calculate the contribution of the species Calanus hyperboreus, a copepod found in abundance in parts of the North Atlantic and Arctic Ocean. This involved an extensive literature search constructing a database on the location, abundance, depth distribution, stage composition and overwintering duration for this species. In doing so, we also provide a theoretical framework based on metabolic theory and a template through which contributions by ecologically similar species in other ocean regions can be estimated.
The paper can be found here
Visser, A. W., Grønning, J. and Jónasdóttir, S. H. (2017), Calanus hyperboreus and the lipid pump. Limnol. Oceanogr.. doi:10.1002/lno.10492