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On the surprising lack of differences between two congeneric calanoid copepod species, Calanus finmarchicus and C. helgolandicus

Wilson, Robert J. and Speirs, Douglas C. and Heath, Michael R. (2015) On the surprising lack of differences between two congeneric calanoid copepod species, Calanus finmarchicus and C. helgolandicus. Progress in Oceanography, 134 (413-43). pp. 413-431. ISSN 0079-6611

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Abstract

The important calanoid copepod species Calanus finmarchicus and C. helgolandicus have distinct geographic ranges which are changing under the influence of climate change. Understanding the mechanisms underlying their distributions is becoming increasingly important as a result of the possible ecological impacts of these range shifts. Here we review inter-species differences in key life cycle traits that influence each species’ geographic distribution, in particular development and growth, fecundity, feeding behaviour, vertical migration and overwintering behaviour. The distinct temperature niche of each species leads to an a priori assumption that the response of life cycle traits to temperature is a key determinant of their contrasting geographic distributions. A new development model was created to reconcile published experimental development times for each species. Model output indicates that at temperatures below approximately 12-13 ˚C, C. finmarchicus is the faster developing species, but above these temperatures C. helgolandicus develops more quickly. Conventionally Calanus development time is assumed to decrease monotonically with temperature; however our model indicates that the response of development time to temperature is instead U-shaped. Differences in life cycle aspects such as seasonality and vertical structuring are interpreted in light of this development model. Body size and lipid accumulation abilities could be significant influences on each species’ geographic distribution; however evidence is consistent with inter-species differences not existing for these traits. Published evidence shows that inter-species differences in egg production may exist, but do not follow a clear pattern. Diapause is an important and well studied life cycle adaptation of C. finmarchicus, but has received little attention in C. helgolandicus. We synthesised knowledge of diapause and suggest the hypothesis that C. helgolandicus is restricted to continental shelf regions as a result of an inability to diapause for significant periods. This synthesised view of each species’ respective life cycle traits is that response of growth and development to temperature is the only known difference between each species, which indicates a promising direction for the extension of population models of C. finmarchicus to C. helgolandicus.