Molecular markers of zooplankton dispersal in the ocean


  • Ann Bucklin


Ocean circulation patterns determine in large part the patterns of biological productivity in coastal and oceanic waters. Prediction of the spatial patterns of secondary production in the ocean is particularly difficult since dispersal of zooplankton is a function of both passive transport and active swimming by zooplankton, which may exhibit highly variable behavioral responses to flow. Quantitative estimates of dispersal are particularly difficult to obtain for marine zooplankton; the difficulty of direct observation of dispersal processes is magnified by their small size and numerical abundance and by the vast distances they traverse. The inaccessibility of the open ocean further compounds the problem, since many parts of the ocean are difficult to sample with the spatial intensity and temporal frequency necessary to determine dispersal processes. Unlike biomass and abundance estimates for marine planktonic species, dispersal processes may not be amenable to remote monitoring.