The effects of sympatric and allopatric hab species on calanoid copepod swimming behavior
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Harmful algal blooms, commonly referred to as red tides, occur yearly with dramatic impacts on marine ecology, coastal economies, and human health. As a consequence, research into the zooplankton grazers that consume HABs is highly important. However, changes in ocean temperature may increase the range of many HABs, exposing historically naive copepods to new species and their associated chemicals. Little research into the impact of allopatric verses sympatric species, particularly on the immediate behavioral impact, has been performed, leaving the indirect fitness effects of HAB exposure and consumption relatively unknown. We measured alterations in the swimming behavior of the calanoid copepod Temora longicornis following exposure to sympatric Alexandrium fundyense and allopatric Karenia brevis treatments. After a 15-16 hours depuration period postA. fundyense exposure, T. longicornis exhibited increased average swimming speed and an elevated net to gross displacement ratio (NGDR). During exposure toK. brevis, copepods exhibited an immediate decrease in swimming speed and NGDR, as well as an increased frequency of jump behavior. However, these effects faded after an one-hour depuration period, and disappeared after a 15-16 hour depuration period. The alterations in swimming behavior demonstrated by the copepods treated A. fundyense may increase encounter rate with predators, while copepods treated with K. brevis remain in bloom conditions for longer periods of time, negatively affecting survivorship. Temora longicornis individuals also may be made more visible to predators due to the increase in jumps seen during treatment with K. brevis. These behavioral changes suggest how HABs escape from zooplankton grazer control by altering copepod swimming behavior, and the pattern of predator-prey evolution that occurs over time.