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Faculty candidate seminar - Moira Décima

05/17/2019 - 1:30pm
Eckart 227
Event Description: 


Organismal Physiologist or Zooplankton Ecologist/Curator

DATE:          May 17th, Friday, 1:30 p.m.  

LOCATION:     Eckart 227
SPEAKER:      Moira Décima
            National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research
TITLE:          Zooplankton communities and food-web pathways: effects on the pelagic ecosystem in a changing ocean


Zooplankton are the essential trophic link between microscopic plankton and higher trophic levels, and their food-web pathways significantly mediate biogeochemical processes such as the biological carbon pump (BCP).  In order to understand the drivers of zooplankton trophic structure and its ecological consequences, I use an approach that combines ship-board measurements and laboratory-based chemostat experiments, while applying a variety of methods that include live-organism manipulations, pigment analysis, DNA and chemical tracer approaches, along with data assimilation tools.  In this talk, I will present my research focusing on the two food-web pathways that determine secondary production in the ocean: the link from phytoplankton to mesozooplankton, and the link from microzooplankton to mesozooplankton.  The material transferred through these links is related to the magnitude of primary production, but high variability suggests additional environmental conditions are important in food-web structuring.  These trophic pathways are additionally affected by the type of dominant resident grazers: e.g., gelatinous (salps and pyrosomes) or crustacean (copepods, euphausiids) zooplankton. Using my most recent oceanographic voyage SalpPOOP (Salp Particle expOrt and Ocean Productivity) as a case study, I will contrast trophic and BCP fluxes between salp- and crustacean- dominated regions, demonstrating the ecosystem effects of zooplankton community shifts.  Understanding the mechanisms underlying these food-web and biogeochemical pathways is an essential requirement for predicting ecosystem-level changes in a warming ocean, where zooplankton assemblages are already shifting in space and time.



Faculty Host:  Anela Choy (
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