Copepods use oceanographic gradients to employ area-restricted search behavior

We use laboratory experiments and a simple foraging model to show how copepods can utilize gradients in flow, density, and chemical cues to find high densities of prey resources (phytoplankton), and discuss the broader implications to pelagic ecosystem functioning.

Woodson, C.B., D.R. Webster, M.J. Weissburg, and J. Yen. 2007. The prevalence and implications of copepod behavioral responses to oceanographic structure. Integr Comp Biol 47: 831-846. doi: 10.1093/icb/icm091.

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Local seabreezes cause nearshore coastal upwelling

As part of a summer graduate course in coastal oceanography and marine ecosystems, we deployed a small mooring array and discovered a new sea breeze driven nearshore upwelling phenomena that likely has important implications for nutrient and larval delivery to nearshore habitats.

Woodson, C.B., D. Eerkes-Medrano, A. Flores-Morales, M. Foley, S. Henkel, M. Hessing-Lewis, D. Jacinto, L. Needles, M. Nishizaki, J. O’Leary, C. Ostrander, M. Pespeni, K. Schwager, J. Tyburczy, K. Weersing, A.R.

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Copepods use a complex cue hierarchy to find prey aggregations

Copepods use a cue hierarchy that starts with phyiscal gradients in flow or density which act to aggregate passive particles, then to chemical exudates from prey, and finally to mechanical contact with prey to find high densities of phytoplankton.

Woodson, C.B., D.R. Webster, M.J. Weissburg, and J. Yen. 2007. Cue hierarchy in the foraging behavior of calanoid copepods: Ecological implications of oceanographic structure. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 330: 163-177.

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Microbes compete with macroconsumers for resources

We tested Dan Jansen’s 1977 hypothesis about ‘Why fruits rot, seeds mold, and meat spoils’ in the salt marshes of Georgia. We found that microbes directly competed with stone crabs (predators) for resources, but blue crabs used the microbial byproducts to locate prey.

Burkepile, D.E., J.D. Parker, C.B. Woodson, H.J. Mills, J. Kubanek, P.A. Sobecky, and M.E. Hay. 2006. Chemically-mediated competition between microbes and animals: microbes as consumers in food webs. Ecology 87: 2821-2831.

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Calanoid copepods respond to velocity gradients with swarm like behavior

We used a novel laboratory apparatus to isolate multiple environmental cues for calanoid copepods for the first time. We found that many species of copepods respond to gradients in velocity with swarm-like behavior. In contrast, copepods tend not to cross density (salinity) gradients.

Woodson, C.B., D.R. Webster, M.J. Weissburg, and J. Yen. 2005. Response of copepods to physical gradients associated with structure in the ocean. Limnol Oceanogr 50: 1552-1564.

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