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Measuring RNA:DNA ratios in individual Acartia tonsa (Copepoda)
Speekmann, C.L.; Nunez, B.S.; Buskey, E.J. (2007). Measuring RNA:DNA ratios in individual Acartia tonsa (Copepoda). Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 151(2): 759-766.
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Speekmann, C.L.
  • Nunez, B.S.
  • Buskey, E.J.

    Acartia tonsa Dana is a dominant copepod in coastal waters and is therefore an important link in the food web between microplankton and higher trophic levels. RNA:DNA ratios have been used to describe growth and nutritional condition of field-collected copepods and to show strong correlation between RNA:DNA ratios and group egg production (EP). A method was developed using a sensitive, nucleic acid-specific fluorescent dye, and automated microplate fluorometer to measure DNA, RNA, and the RNA:DNA ratio of individual A. tonsa. DNA, RNA, and RNA:DNA ratios and EP were all significantly higher in copepods fed Thalassiosira sp. compared to starved copepods. There was a general trend toward an increase in RNA:DNA ratios with increase in EP, but due to the high degree of variation in both RNA:DNA ratios and EP among individual copepods there was no significant correlation between RNA:DNA ratios and EP. Significant differences in RNA:DNA ratios between fed (7.2) and starved (3.3) copepods were found after 2 days. This assay may be applied to other species of copepods sampled in the field to provide an index of the health of planktonic food webs.

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