Zooplankton are crucial to ocean ecosystems. These tiny free-swimming animals transfer energy from phytoplankton (minute floating plants) up the ocean food chain. They underpin our commercial fisheries.
One copepod species, Calanus finmarchicus, typically provides 70-80% of the zooplankton biomass from New England to Norway. There may be 100,000 of them below each square metre of the temperate North Atlantic.
Understanding Calanus finmarchicus' population dynamics is essential to maintaining sustainable fisheries. The Marine Productivity programme focussed on how the ocean's physical characteristics affect populations of this copepod. More about the Marine Productivity programme