Fish and zooplankton relationship questions

fish and zooplankton relationship questions

mechanistic understanding of classic general ecology topics including relations, food web structure, succession, and transfer of matter and energy. Special . together, including fish, penguins, seals and whales make up only 16 million tons. If students understand the relationships in a simple food chain, they will better Answer questions about how pollution affects food chains by applying scientific Herbivores, such as ducks, small fish and many species of zooplankton (animal. Early life history of fishes and zooplankton availability in a Neotropical floodplain: predator–prey functional relationships · Infectivity is Explore a selection of freely available papers from these themed virtual issues on key topics. View a list of.

Second, we evaluate how the parameterization of zooplankton feeding characteristics, specifically the predator—prey mass ratio PPMRassimilation efficiency and feeding kernel width, affects the productivity and stability of the fish community.

Finally, we compare how feeding characteristics of different zooplankton functional groups mediate increases in primary production and fishing pressure. Incorporating zooplankton-specific feeding parameters increased productivity of the fish community, but also changed the dynamics of the entire system from a stable to an oscillating steady-state.

The inclusion of zooplankton feeding characteristics mediated a trade-off between the productivity and resilience of the fish community, and its stability. Fish communities with increased productivity and lower stability were supported by zooplankton with a larger PPMR and a narrower feeding kernel—specialized herbivores.

In contrast, fish communities that were stable had lower productivity, and were supported by zooplankton with a lower PPMR and a wider feeding kernel—generalist carnivores. Herbivorous zooplankton communities were more efficient at mediating increases in primary production, and supported fish communities more resilient to fishing.

Our results illustrate that zooplankton are not just a static food source for larger organisms, nor can they be resolved as very small fish. The unique feeding characteristics of zooplankton have enormous implications for the dynamics of marine ecosystems, and their representation is of critical importance in size-spectrum models, and end-to-end ecosystem models more broadly.

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Introduction In the 50 years since Sheldon et al. Size-spectrum models represent the entire marine community as a size distribution, and traditionally do not resolve species identity. Their simplicity and parsimonious parameterization makes it possible for them to be used to investigate human impacts at the community level, including fishing e.

The focus of these models has been on higher trophic levels—primarily fish and fishing—and in recent years there has been considerable effort in improving their parameterization Andersen et al. For example, recent theoretical developments now allow size-spectrum models to resolve different functional groups and even species by their traits, and this has been implemented for various fish e.

Food Chains and Webs | Teaching Great Lakes Science

The focus on fish has meant that the dynamics of the plankton-dominated lower trophic levels has been neglected in model formulations. Zooplankton, as the main consumers of phytoplankton and prey of small fish are the chief intermediaries between primary production and higher trophic levels, and thus play a critical role in marine food web dynamics Carlotti and Poggiale, ; Mitra and Davis, In current dynamic size-spectrum models, the minimum size of the dynamic consumer spectrum extends to mesozooplankton.

For smaller zooplankton, there are three common representations. Second, the phytoplankton and small zooplankton spectrum is determined by an external nutrient—phytoplankton—zooplankton NPZ model, with no predation feedback from the larger dynamic size classes Woodworth-Jefcoats et al. Third, phytoplankton and small zooplankton are modeled as a semi-chemostat system, with a fixed carrying capacity and predation feedback from higher trophic levels Hartvig et al.

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The latter approach is the only one in which the size-spectrum of fish dynamically interacts with phytoplankton and small zooplankton. These current representations essentially group smaller zooplankton and phytoplankton together as food for the smallest dynamic size classes, and resolve larger zooplankton as small fish.

Assuming zooplankton have the same dynamics as phytoplankton or small fish is not only incorrect, but could have considerable effects on energy transfer in food webs. Zooplankton have feeding characteristics distinctly different from fish. For instance, the average predator—prey mass ratio PPMR; in grams of wet weight for fish is typically around Jennings et al. Size-based predation is the key driver of dynamics in size-based ecosystems Jennings et al.

Carnivores meat eaters eat other animals and can be small e. Omnivores are animals including humans that eat both plants and animals. Each is an important part of the food chain. In reality, food chains overlap at many points — because animals often feed on multiple species — forming complex food webs. Food web diagrams depict all feeding interactions among species in real communities.

fish and zooplankton relationship questions

These complex diagrams often appear as intricate spider webs connecting the species. This lesson demonstrates that changes in one part of a food chain or web may affect other parts, resulting in impacts on carnivores, herbivores, and eventually on producers. An example of this might be the harmful effects of pollution. The point that should be made is that when something disrupts a food web, humans should try to understand and minimize the disturbance.

fish and zooplankton relationship questions

Students should also come to recognize that humans, too, are part of this complex web of life. They also act as food, providing energy for other organisms.

In the Great Lakes, most producers are phytoplankton, or microscopic floating plants. An example of phytoplankton is green algae.

fish and zooplankton relationship questions

Large rooted plants, another type of producer, provide food and shelter for different organisms, fish and wildlife. Primary Consumers The next level in the food chain is made up of primary consumers, or organisms that eat food produced by other organisms.

Examples of primary consumers include zooplankton, ducks, tadpoles, mayfly nymphs and small crustaceans. Secondary Consumers Secondary consumers make up the third level of the food chain.

fish and zooplankton relationship questions

Secondary consumers feed on smaller, plant-eating animals primary consumers. Examples of secondary consumers include bluegill, small fish, crayfish and frogs. Top Predators Top predators are at the top of the food chain.

Food Chains and Webs

They can be carnivores or omnivores. Top predators typically sit atop the food chain without predators of their own. Examples include fish such as lake trout, walleye, pike and bass, birds such as herons, gulls and red tailed hawks, bears—and humans!

Food Webs In reality, many different food chains interact to form complex food webs. If one organism in a chain becomes scarce, another may be able to assume its role. In general, the diversity of organisms that do similar things provides a type of safety, and may allow an ecological community to continue to function in a similar way, even when one species becomes scarce.