Spectral sensitivity of vertically migrating marine copepods.
Light is a critical factor in the proximate basis of diel vertical migration (DVM) in zooplankton. A photobehavioral approach was used to examine the spectral sensitivity of four coastal species of calanoid copepod, representing a diversity of DVM patterns, to test whether species that migrate (nocturnal or reverse DVM) have response spectra that differ from non-migratory surface dwellers. The following species were given light stimuli at wavelengths from 350 to 740 nm, and their photoresponses were measured: Centropages typicus (nocturnal migrator), Calanopia americana (nocturnal migrator), Anomalocera ornata (reverse migrator), and Labidocera aestiva (non-migrator). Centropages typicus and A. ornata had peak responses at 500 and 520 nm, respectively, while Calanopia americana had maximum responses at 480 and 520 nm. Thus, the species that undergo DVM have peak photobehavioral responses at wavelengths corresponding to those available during twilight in coastal water, although the range of wavelengths to which they respond is variable. Non-migratory surface-dwelling L. aestiva had numerous response peaks over a broad spectral range, which may serve to maximize photon capture for vision in their broad-spectrum shallow-water habitat.
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