Consumer driven nutrient recycling in copepods

Master Thesis subject (30 ECTS)
It is now generally accepted that consumers retain those elements in short supply while excreting the ones that they have taken up in excess. Thus, the species composition of the herbivorous zooplankton community can determine the type of nutrient limitation of the phytoplankton community. In fact, there seems to be consensus in the literature that cladocerans drive a system to phosphorus limitation, whereas copepods cause a nitrogen limitation of the algae. Copepods go through a complex life cycle with five to six naupliar stages, followed by five copepodite stages before reaching adulthood. Nauplii develop faster than copepodites and are richer in phosphorus than older stages. Thus, a copepod population dominated by younger developmental stages might significantly retain more phosphorus than older populations. The student will therefore be responsible for testing this hypothesis and the consequences of consumer driven nutrient recycling for phytoplankton growth.
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Reference Number: RP-35522