SCRIPPS INSTITUTION OF OCEANOGRAPHY FACULTY CANDIDATE SEMINAR -
DATE: May 2nd, Thursday, 12:45 p.m.
LOCATION: Eckart 227
TITLE: Zooplankton diversity and trophic ecology from the sea surface to the seafloor
A diverse assemblage of metazoan zooplankton mediates carbon flows at intermediate trophic levels in pelagic food webs, and contributes to biogeochemical cycling in the upper ocean. Larvae of many benthic animals are also ephemeral members of the zooplankton assemblage as they disperse among populations on the seafloor. In this 3-part talk, I will present our work on the diversity and trophic roles of marine zooplankton across three distinct spatial and temporal scales. In part 1, we will focus on event-scale plankton dynamics in a coastal embayment and the trophic roles of small metazoan grazers. Using a combination of field and experimental results, I will show that copepod nauplii, the numerically dominant larval stages of copepods, may be an important and largely-overlooked component of the grazer assemblage that is capable of exerting significant grazing pressure on preferred prey populations and acting as a conduit for phosphorus between the microbial loop and the mesozooplankton. In part 2, we will focus on mesoscale variability in demersal zooplankton assemblages over the abyssal seafloor. Large areas of the Clarion Clipperton Zone (CCZ) are at risk of future polymetallic nodule mining, and the resilience of abyssal populations to the impacts of mining will be partially determined by the availability of pelagic larvae for benthic recolonization of disturbed areas of the seafloor. I will present results of baseline surveys of species richness, diversity, and spatial variability of the larval assemblage in the CCZ. Finally, in part 3 we will focus on zooplankton diversity and biogeography at global spatial scales. Our work in this area aims to understand the oceanographic and evolutionary processes that drive genetic evolution within metazoan plankton populations. I will also outline ongoing and future collections-based research that would draw from the resources of the SIO Pelagic Invertebrates Collection.