Blind dating: the secret life of pelagic copepods

Thomas Kiorboe
Danish Institute for Fisheries Research

(May 16, 2006 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM)

Blind dating: the secret life of pelagic copepods

Abstract

How do small pelagic copepods manage to find mates in a large 3-dimensional world? Copepods are by far the most important zooplankters in the oceans and are the main food for pelagic fish and fish larvae. Their population dynamics and abundance are constrained by their capability to find sex-partners. By video-clips and animations the lecture will reveal the fascinating mate-finding and courtship behaviour of these mm-sized crustaceans. I will show how the females signal their presence and position to the males, and how the males optimize their search for females. Our understanding of the physical processes at the small scale helps us to interpret these behaviours. Insights in the details of mate-finding behaviour allow predictions of the abundances of copepods in the ocean, which are useful for fisheries biologists.