Response of the calanoid copepod clausocalanus furcatus, to atmospheric deposition events: Outcomes from a mesocosm study

Epaminondas D. Christou, Soultana Zervoudaki, Ma Luz Fernandez De Puelles, Maria Protopapa, Ioanna Varkitzi, Paraskevi Pitta, Tatiana M. Tsagaraki, Barak Herut

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Atmospheric deposition is assumed to stimulate heterotrophic processes in highly oligotrophicmarine systems, controlling the dynamics and trophic efficiency of planktonic food webs, and is expected to be influenced by climate change. In the course of an 8-day mesocosm experiment, we examined the channeling, of the Saharan dust (SD) and mixed aerosols (A) effects on microplankton up to the copepod trophic level, in the highly oligotrophic Eastern Mediterranean Sea. Based on mesocosms with SD and A treatments, we evaluated the feeding response of the dominant copepod Clausocalanus furcatus every other day. We hypothesized that increased food availability under atmospheric deposition would result in increased copepod ingestion rates, selectivity and production. Overall, no robust pattern of food selection was documented, and daily rations on the prey assemblage of all mesocosms were very low indicating severe food limitation of C. furcatus. Although increased food availability was not true, after few days ingestion of ciliates was maximized, followed by egg production, in both the SD and A treatments, indicating their importance in the diet of this copepod as well as a response of C. furcatus feeding performance. Our results help in understanding the trophic efficiency of marine food webs in ultra-oligotrophic environments under atmospheric deposition. We suggest that future mesocosm research in oligotrophic waters should consider more than one copepod species.

Original languageEnglish
Article number35
JournalFrontiers in Marine Science
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Christou, Zervoudaki, Fernandez De Puelles, Protopapa, Varkitzi, Pitta, Tsagaraki and Herut.


  • Aerosols
  • Clausocalanus furcatus
  • Copepods
  • Dust
  • Eastern Mediterranean
  • Feeding
  • Mesocosm experiments

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Ocean Engineering


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