Thursday, December 15, 2011

Lipids - Copepods


Copepods eat their own weight belts

14 December 2011, by Tom Marshall

Scientists have solved the mystery of how tiny marine crustaceans called copepods regulate the rhythms of their life-cycle.


"It turns out that it's all about oil. The copepods have specialised fat stores that act like weight belts, letting the copepods maintain their depth easily and avoid attracting predators' attention with unnecessary movements. Building up enough fat reserves seems to be an essential step before diapause can begin - these reserves automatically trigger diapause once they reach a threshold level."


"Pond explains that the unsaturated fats that are crucial for buoyancy control are found mostly in plankton algae known as diatoms, so having these to feed on is crucial for copepods' ability to diapause successfully. He now plans to look at whether similar mechanisms help control the movements of other animal plankton, such as krill."

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