Date of Award

8-2012

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Marine Biology

Advisor

Jeffrey Runge

Second Committee Member

Teresa Johnson

Third Committee Member

Jason Stockwell

Abstract

Members of the Calanus genus play a key role in pelagic food webs in the northern and Arctic seas, making up a large portion of the biomass and serving as the apex herbivore in many of these areas. I used video analysis of live Calanus finmarchicus individuals to document the annual and interannual variability in the size, lipid amounts, abundance and energy density of C. finmarchicus at a near-shore site in the Gulf of Maine. This study has identified previously undocumented significant differences in annual and interannual sizes, lipid amounts, abundances and energy densities of C. finmarchicus from 2009-2011 in the Gulf of Maine. By documenting this seasonal and interannual variability, I identified significant differences in the seasonal availabilities of lipids for consumption by higher-level foragers, such as herring and Right whales, from year to year. I also developed length-weight relationships based on dry weights for individuals from different seasons, also data that was previously unavailable for this important zooplankter. A better understanding of the seasonal fluctuations in near-shore populations of C. finmarchicus abundance and lipids is necessary to understand effects on higher trophic levels in the Gulf of Maine and the way these populations interact.

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