Mesozooplankton Feeding Analysis

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The purpose of this experiment was to analyze meso- and microzooplankton feeding. Largely due to size differences, mesozooplankton (>140 μm) are important exporters of carbon and prey for larger organisms, while microzooplankton (100–140 μn) are important recyclers of nutrients, dominant grazers of phytoplankton, and key link in the microbial loop (Conroy et al., 2016; Uitto and Hallfors, 1996). Therefore, understanding this relationship between zooplankton and grazing will allow scientists to be able to understand the primary production and rate of energy flow through out food webs all over the world (Frost, 1972; Conroy et al., 2016) In order to measure both meso- and microzooplankton feeding two approaches were taken. Mesozooplankton were …show more content…
This is because each functional response has relatively different initial functional response pathways, even though they all are increasing. For analyzing mesozooplankton grazing we would have expected to see the data follow either a Holling type II or III functional response curve. For as Frost discusses in his paper mesozooplankton eventually reach a maximum saturation level, where it no longer matters how much phytoplankton are available they can not consume, nor process them any faster. Therefore, making it improbable that the data would fit a Holling type I response as mesozooplankton cannot exponentially increase their ingestion rate. However, if we were to have obtained a Holling type I response in our data it would be important that we re-run our experiment and increase phytoplankton concentrations past 30000 cells/mL as the concentration range that we were in might not have been large enough for the mesozooplankton to reach their maximum saturation level, making it in fact a Holling type II response.
In order to distinguish whether our current data would fit a Holling type II or III response we could re-run the experiment, increasing the different amounts of phytoplankton concentrations within the 0 to 14000 cells/mL range as well as increasing replications of each concentration. This would allow us to obtain more data points on our result
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For instance, the experimental method used to measure microzooplankton through a natural and uncontrolled community is a more accurate representation of what is actually happening out in the natural world. However, this method does make it harder to understand and interpret the results, as it is not a controlled system. Therefore, we do not entirely know what specific species and or organisms are present within the sample and cannot prevent the microzooplankton themselves from being grazed upon. If the microzooplankton were being grazed upon then relief in phytoplankton predation would be seen which would lead to an increase in their net growth rate. Due to this uncontrolled system it also requires certain assumptions to be made and upheld. As seen with the results from this paper if one assumption is not upheld it can create error with in the experiment. The mesozooplankton experiment on the other hand, because it is a controlled system does not require these microzooplankton assumptions to be made but does assume that the decrease in phytoplankton concentration is due only to grazing and not to other factors such as death or lack or nutrients. This method allows scientists though to more accurately examine the relationship between two specific organisms without any added factors that could affect the relationship. However, because it is a controlled

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