Copepod flow modes and modulation: a modelling study of the water currents produced by an unsteadily swimming copepod.
ABSTRACT: Video observation has shown that feeding-current-producing calanoid copepods modulate their feeding currents by displaying a sequence of different swimming behaviours during a time period of up to tens of seconds. In order to understand the feeding-current modulation process, we numerically modelled the steady feeding currents for different modes of observed copepod motion behaviours (i.e. free sinking, partial sinking, hovering, vertical swimming upward and horizontal swimming backward or forward). Based on observational data, we also reproduced numerically a modulated feeding current associated with an unsteadily swimming copepod. We found that: (i) by changing its propulsive force, a copepod can switch between different swimming behaviours, leading to completely different flow-field patterns in self-generated surrounding flow; (ii) by exerting a time-varying propulsive force, a copepod can modulate temporally the basic flow modes to create an unsteady feeding current which manipulates precisely the trajectories of entrained food particles over a long time period; (iii) the modulation process may be energetically more efficient than exerting a constant propulsive force onto water to create a constant feeding current of a wider entrainment range. A probable reason is that the modulated unsteady flow entrains those water parcels containing food particles and leaves behind those without valuable food in them.
Project description:Calanoid copepods are small crustaceans that constitute a major element of aquatic ecosystems. Key to their success is their feeding apparatus consisting of sensor-studded mouth appendages that are in constant motion. These appendages generate a feeding current to enhance the encounter probability with food items. Additionally, sensing enables the organism to determine the position and quality of food particles, and to alter the near-field flow to capture and manipulate the particles for ingestion or rejection. Here we observe a freely swimming copepod Leptodiaptomus sicilis in multiple perspectives together with suspended particles that allow us to analyse the flow field created by the animal. We observe a highly periodic motion of the mouth appendages that is mirrored in oscillations of nearby tracer particles. We propose that the phase shift between the fluid and the particle velocities is sufficient for mechanical detection of the particles entrained in the feeding current. Moreover, we propose that an immersed algal cell may benefit from the excitation by increased uptake of dissolved inorganic compounds.
Project description:Copepod nauplii move in a world dominated by viscosity. Their swimming-by-jumping propulsion mode, with alternating power and recovery strokes of three pairs of cephalic appendages, is fundamentally different from the way other microplankters move. Protozoans move using cilia or flagella, and copepodites are equipped with highly specialized swimming legs. In some species the nauplius may also propel itself more slowly through the water by beating and rotating the appendages in a different, more complex pattern. We use high-speed video to describe jumping and swimming in nauplii of three species of pelagic copepods: Temora longicornis, Oithona davisae and Acartia tonsa. The kinematics of jumping is similar between the three species. Jumps result in a very erratic translation with no phase of passive coasting and the nauplii move backwards during recovery strokes. This is due to poorly synchronized recovery strokes and a low beat frequency relative to the coasting time scale. For the same reason, the propulsion efficiency of the nauplii is low. Given the universality of the nauplius body plan, it is surprising that they seem to be inefficient when jumping, which is different from the very efficient larger copepodites. A slow-swimming mode is only displayed by T. longicornis. In this mode, beating of the appendages results in the creation of a strong feeding current that is about 10 times faster than the average translation speed of the nauplius. The nauplius is thus essentially hovering when feeding, which results in a higher feeding efficiency than that of a nauplius cruising through the water.
Project description:Although consumers may use selective feeding to cope with suboptimal resource quality, little work has examined the mechanisms that underlie selective feeding, the efficiency of this behavior or its influence on consumer growth rate. Furthermore, a consumer's exposure to suboptimal resources may also influence the consumer's behavior and life history, including growth rate. Here, we studied how the availability of P-rich and P-poor phytoplankton influences the growth and behavior of copepod nauplii. We observed that copepod nauplii preferentially feed on P-rich prey. We also found that even relatively short exposure to P-rich phytoplankton yielded higher nauplii growth rates, whereas the presence of P-poor phytoplankton in a mixture impaired growth. Overall, we observed that swimming speed decreased with increasing phytoplankton P-content, which is a behavioral adjustment that may improve utilization of heterogeneously distributed high-quality food in the field. Based on our results, we propose that the optimal prey C: P ratio for copepod nauplii is very narrow, and that deviations from this optimum have severe negative consequences for growth.
Project description:Chemical interactions play a fundamental role in the ecology of marine foodwebs. Dimethyl sulfide (DMS) is a ubiquitous marine trace gas that acts as a bioactive compound by eliciting foraging behavior in a range of marine taxa including the copepod Temora longicornis. Production of DMS can rapidly increase following microzooplankton grazing on phytoplankton. Here, we investigated whether grazing-induced DMS elicits an increase in foraging behavior in the copepod Calanus helgolandicus. We developed a semi-automated method to quantify the effect of grazing-mediated DMS on the proportion of the time budget tethered females allocate towards slow swimming, typically associated with feeding. The pooled data showed no differences in the proportion of the 25 min time budget allocated towards slow swimming between high (23.6 ± 9.74%) and low (29.1 ± 18.33%) DMS treatments. However, there was a high degree of variability between behavioral responses of individual copepods. We discuss the need for more detailed species-specific studies of individual level responses of copepods to chemical signals at different spatial scales to improve our understanding of chemical interactions between copepods and their prey.
Project description:Copepod nauplii are either ambush feeders that feed on motile prey or they produce a feeding current that entrains prey cells. It is unclear how ambush and feeding-current feeding nauplii perceive and capture prey. Attack jumps in ambush feeding nauplii should not be feasible at low Reynolds numbers due to the thick viscous boundary layer surrounding the attacking nauplius. We use high-speed video to describe the detection and capture of phytoplankton prey by the nauplii of two ambush feeding species (Acartia tonsa and Oithona davisae) and by the nauplii of one feeding-current feeding species (Temora longicornis). We demonstrate that the ambush feeders both detect motile prey remotely. Prey detection elicits an attack jump, but the jump is not directly towards the prey, such as has been described for adult copepods. Rather, the nauplius jumps past the prey and sets up an intermittent feeding current that pulls in the prey from behind towards the mouth. The feeding-current feeding nauplius detects prey arriving in the feeding current but only when the prey is intercepted by the setae on the feeding appendages. This elicits an altered motion pattern of the feeding appendages that draws in the prey.
Project description:Fish in schooling formations navigate complex flow fields replete with mechanical energy in the vortex wakes of their companions. Their schooling behavior has been associated with evolutionary advantages including energy savings, yet the underlying physical mechanisms remain unknown. We show that fish can improve their sustained propulsive efficiency by placing themselves in appropriate locations in the wake of other swimmers and intercepting judiciously their shed vortices. This swimming strategy leads to collective energy savings and is revealed through a combination of high-fidelity flow simulations with a deep reinforcement learning (RL) algorithm. The RL algorithm relies on a policy defined by deep, recurrent neural nets, with long-short-term memory cells, that are essential for capturing the unsteadiness of the two-way interactions between the fish and the vortical flow field. Surprisingly, we find that swimming in-line with a leader is not associated with energetic benefits for the follower. Instead, "smart swimmer(s)" place themselves at off-center positions, with respect to the axis of the leader(s) and deform their body to synchronize with the momentum of the oncoming vortices, thus enhancing their swimming efficiency at no cost to the leader(s). The results confirm that fish may harvest energy deposited in vortices and support the conjecture that swimming in formation is energetically advantageous. Moreover, this study demonstrates that deep RL can produce navigation algorithms for complex unsteady and vortical flow fields, with promising implications for energy savings in autonomous robotic swarms.
Project description:Phytoplankton sinking is an important property that can determine community composition in the photic zone and material loss to the deep ocean. To date, studies of diatom suspension have relied on bulk measurements with assumptions that bulk rates adequately capture the essential characteristics of diatom sinking. However, recent work has illustrated that individual diatom sinking rates vary considerably from the mean bulk rate. In this study, we apply high-resolution optical techniques, individual-based observations of diatom sinking and a recently developed method of flow visualization around freely sinking cells. The results show that in both field samples and laboratory cultures, some large species of centric diatoms are capable of a novel behaviour, whereby cells undergo bursts of rapid sinking that alternate with near-zero sinking rates on the timescales of seconds. We also demonstrate that this behaviour is under direct metabolic control of the cell. We discuss these results in the context of implications for nutrient flux to the cell surface. While nutrient flux in large diatoms increases during fast sinking, current mass transport models cannot incorporate the unsteady sinking behaviour observed in this study. However, large diatoms appear capable of benefiting from the enhanced nutrient flux to their surface during rapid sinking even during brief intervening periods of near-zero sinking rates.
Project description:Several species of large, centric diatoms exhibit an unsteady sinking behaviour characterized by order-of-magnitude oscillations in sinking speed that occur over seconds. We show that under nutrient-depleted conditions, Coscinodiscus wailesii exhibits significantly stronger unsteady sinking behaviour in the light than in the dark. Results suggest that regulating unsteady sinking in response to irradiance as well as nutrient conditions may help C. wailesii balance its requirements for light and nutrients, which are often spatially separated.
Project description:The Wujiang River is a tributary of the upper Yangtze River that shows great variations in its flow regime and habitat condition. Dams have been built along the Wujiang River and have altered the habitats profoundly enough that they may give rise to reproductive isolation. To test whether the swimming performance and morphology of the Chinese hook snout carp (Opsariichthys bidens), varied among habitats and whether the possible differences had a genetic basis, we measured the steady and unsteady swimming performance, external body shape and genetic distance among fish collected from both the main and tributary streams of the upper, middle and lower reaches along the river. We also measured the routine energy expenditure (RMR), maximum metabolic rate (MMR), cost of transport (COT) and calculated the optimal swimming speed. The steady swimming capacity, RMR, MMR and optimal swimming speed were all higher and the COT was lower in the upper reach or tributary streams compared with the lower reach or main stream. However, unsteady swimming performance showed no variation among collecting sites. Flow regimes as suggested by river slope and water velocity were positively correlated with steady swimming performance but not with unsteady swimming performance. Predation stress were significantly related with body morphology and hence energy cost during swimming but not U(crit) value. The fish from only one population (Hao-Kou) showed relatively high genetic differentiation compared with the other populations. Fish from the upper reach or tributary streams exhibited improved steady swimming performance through improved respiratory capacity and lower energy expenditure during swimming at the cost of higher maintenance metabolism. There was no correlation between the steady and unsteady swimming performance at either the population or the individual levels. These results suggest that a trade-off between steady and unsteady swimming does not occur in O. bidens.
Project description:Wave-induced surge conditions are found in shallow marine ecosystems worldwide; yet, few studies have quantified how cyclical surges may affect free swimming animals. Here, we used a recently adapted respirometry technique to compare the energetic costs of a temperate fish species (Cymatogaster aggregata) swimming against a steady flow versus cyclical unidirectional and bidirectional surges in which unsteady swimming (such as accelerating, decelerating and turning) occurs. Using oxygen uptake (?O2) as an estimate of energetic costs, our results reveal that fish swimming in an unsteady (i.e. cyclical) unidirectional flow showed no clear increase in costs when compared to a steady flow of the same average speed, suggesting that costs and savings from cyclical acceleration and coasting are near equal. Conversely, swimming in a bidirectional cyclical flow incurred significantly higher energetic costs relative to a steady, constant flow, likely due to the added cost of turning around to face the changing flow direction. On average, we observed a 50% increase in ?O2 of fish station holding within the bidirectional flow (227.8 mg O2 kg-1 h-1) compared to a steady, constant flow (136.1 mg O2 kg-1 h-1) of the same mean velocity. Given wave-driven surge zones are prime fish habitats in the wild, we suggest the additional costs fish incur by station holding in a bidirectional cyclical flow must be offset by favourable conditions for foraging and reproduction. With current and future increases in abiotic stressors associated with climate change, we highlight the importance of incorporating additional costs associated with swimming in cyclical water flow in the construction of energy budgets for species living in dynamic, coastal habitats.