An Efficient Method for Collecting Large Samples of Live Copepods Free from Detritus
Computing, Health and Science
Natural Sciences/Centre for Marine Ecosystems Research
Meiofauna are often important in the transfer of organic material to higher trophic levels in aquatic environments. However, in food web analysis the group is frequently pooled or ignored owing to the difficulty in isolating individual components of the assemblage. In this study, we developed and tested a new method for extracting photopositive and detritus-free copepod samples from sediments, and compared this method to a previous technique (Couch 1989). In our initial trials, ~400 copepods (all orders included) were collected in 15 min compared with 60 copepods using Couch’s method. In subsequent trials that focussed on specific orders of copepods, our method was at least 10 times more efficient than Couch’s method at collecting cyclopoid and harpacticoid copepods from sediments. The new method requires very little supervision and there is no requirement for a particular intensity of light. This method can increase the collection of large numbers of photopositive copepods in aquatic systems, and thereby facilitate the inclusion of this important component into future food web studies, particularly those using biomarkers such as stable isotopes or fatty acids.