Zooplankton and Nekton: Gatekeepers of the biological pump


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Abstract

Zooplankton and nekton organisms create and destroy particles in manifold ways. They feed on the diverse components of the plankton community and on detrital matter. They disaggregate these components, but also repackage them into fecal pellets. Zooplankton and nekton thereby contributes to the attenuation, but also to the export of vertically settling particles. Many zooplankton and nekton organisms also ascend to the surface layer of the ocean at dusk to feed during the dark hours, and return to midwater at the break of dawn. This diurnal vertical migration (DVM) shuttles organic matter from the surface ocean to deeper layers, where it is metabolized and excreted. This active flux (as opposed to the passive flux of sinking particles) can contribute substantially to the biological pump, the downward export of carbon and nutrients into the oceans interior. Due to their multiple roles in oceanic particle dynamics, zooplankton and nekton organisms can actually be considered the gatekeepers of the biological pump.



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Helmholtz Cross Cutting Activity (2021-2027)
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Published
Eprint ID
56796
DOI 10.3389/fmars.2020.00545

Cite as
Kiko, R. , Bianchi, D. , Grenz, C. , Hauss, H. , Iversen, M. , Kumar, S. , Maas, A. E. and Robinson, C. (2020): Zooplankton and Nekton: Gatekeepers of the biological pump , Frontiers in Marine Science, 7 (545) . doi: 10.3389/fmars.2020.00545


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