Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tiny marine animals found to share 'diver's weight belt' technique with whales

Date:
June 13, 2011
Source:
British Antarctic Survey
Summary:
A deep-sea mystery has been solved with the discovery that copepods -- tiny 3-millimeter-long marine animals eaten by herring, cod and mackerel -- use the same buoyancy control as whales.

Copepod.
Credit: British Antarctic Survey

A deep-sea mystery has been solved with the discovery that copepods -- tiny 3-millimeter-long marine animals eaten by herring, cod and mackerel -- use the same buoyancy control as whales.

Related Articles


Reporting this week in the journal Limnology and Oceanography, researchers from British Antarctic Survey describe how Southern Ocean copepods -- a crustacean rich in omega-3 oil -- 'hibernates' in the deep ocean during winter when seas are stormy and food scarce. To reach the ocean depths the copepod's oily body fluids undergo a remarkable transformation. As the animals swim deeper, water pressure triggers a process that converts their oil to a more solid form rather like the consistency of butter. This change in density acts like a 'diver's weight belt', enabling them to be neutrally buoyant and spend winter in deep waters without wasting energy on constant swimming.

Lead author from British Antarctic Survey, Dr David Pond says, "This work is of particular value from a number of angles. Copepods may be exceptionally small creatures but they represent a vast reserve of ocean 'biomass' that provides a crucial component of the food chain.

"We've known for some time that there is a link between the copepod's large stores of energy-rich oil and 'hibernation' behaviour, but this is the first time that we've been able to understand the exact relationship between these two elements in the animal's life cycle. This discovery is a breakthrough and will help enormously with the development of simulations of their behaviour.

It's fascinating also to think that the largest and the smallest marine animals share this remarkable ability to change their body fats to adjust their buoyancy."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by British Antarctic Survey. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. David W Pond and Geraint A Tarling. Phase transitions of wax esters adjust buoyancy in diapausing Calanoides acutus. Limnology and Oceanography, 56: 1310-1318 DOI: 10.4319/lo.2011.56.4.1310

Cite This Page:

British Antarctic Survey. "Tiny marine animals found to share 'diver's weight belt' technique with whales." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110613093511.htm>.
British Antarctic Survey. (2011, June 13). Tiny marine animals found to share 'diver's weight belt' technique with whales. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110613093511.htm
British Antarctic Survey. "Tiny marine animals found to share 'diver's weight belt' technique with whales." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110613093511.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Millions of monarch butterflies begin to descend onto Mexico as part of their annual migration south. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins