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The structure of plankton communities
Steele, J.H.; Frost, B.W. (1977). The structure of plankton communities. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. (B Biol. Sci.) 280(976): 485-534. hdl.handle.net/10.1098/rstb.1977.0119
In: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences. Royal Society: London. ISSN 0962-8436, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

Keywords
    Ecosystems; Plankton; Population structure; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Steele, J.H.
  • Frost, B.W.

Abstract
    Interactions of herbivorous copepods with their phytoplankton food depend on the size composition of organisms in both trophic levels. A simulation model is used to analyse these size-dependent relations with the following conclusions. (1) Relative size structure of herbivores and their food is more important than total biomass of each trophic level in determining modes of transfer from plants to herbivores. In nearly all cases, in the model, food limitation affects reproduction or the first feeding stage of the nauplii. (2) No single factor emerges as predominant in determining the size structure of both populations. (3) The nature of predation on the herbivores is at least as important in determining both phytoplankton and herbivore size composition as physical or nutrient parameters. (4) The magnitude of the population of the larger herbivores such as Calanus, important as food for fish, depends on their coexistence with the smaller copepod species which control the smaller phytoplankton. (5) Stress on the system of it affects adversely the smaller herbivores, can lead to the breakdown of the Calanus-diatom components. (6) Prediction of the population structure for both plants and herbivores may be a more attainable objective of theory and more practically important than prediction of total biomass at each trophic level.

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