Copepod photobehavior in a simulated natural light environment and its relation to nocturnal vertical migration
To investigate the roles of light in initiating, controlling and directing nocturnal vertical migration, photoresponses of the adult, female copepod Acartia tonsa Dana were measured under simulated natural underwater light conditions using a video system. Copepods were adapted to a range of background light levels and tested with the following stimuli: absolute quantal intensity, absolute change in quantal intensity and relative (%) change in quantal intensity. The stimulus initiating vertical movements was relative change in quantal intensity, while responsiveness was controlled by the level of light adaptation. A. tonsa swam upward in response to decreases. Response with minimal stimulation occurred at an adaptation intensity close to that in the copepod's natural habitat at the time of the migratory ascent (near the bottom of the Newport River estuary, North Carolina, near sunset). Analysis of the angles of upward movement showed that light is not a directional cue. Relative increases in intensity resulted in sinking, with minimal stimulation required at an adaptation intensity close to that in the field when the migratory descent occurs near sunrise. These results offer a reasonable explanation of how light cues may shape nocturnal vertical migratory patterns. © 1984 Springer-Verlag.
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