Calanoid copepods are among Earth’s most abundant animals, and they play a key role in moving energy from the base of the food chain to higher consumers. Some copepods, such as Calanus finmarchicus, can undergo a dormant period (diapause) during their juvenile development. It is not well understood how copepods “decide” whether to undergo diapause, or when to enter or exit diapause.
Work in progress and recent(ish) results:
In 2015, I participated in a cruise in the Bering Sea aboard the NOAA Ship Oscar Dyson. I was sampling Calanus copepodids and conducting experiments to identify molecular and physiological signatures of food deprivation. This work was funded by the WHOI Access to the Sea Program. Link to a blog post describing this work.
We have compared transcriptome-wide gene expression patterns at two times during development in the fifth copepodid stage. We then conducted detailed qPCR-based expression profiling of a subset of the genes. We anchored these molecular measurements with observations of molt stage progress, oil sac volume and gonadal development. This project was funded by the Biological Oceanography Program at the National Science Foundation. (Tarrant, Baumgartner, et al. 2014. Frontiers in Zoology).