Bottom-up control on LCZ: Microzooplankton
Most of the energy flow from primary producers to zooplankton is mediated by the microzooplankton. A component of the Bering Sea Project research was to determine how the influence of microzooplankton differs between domains and in different climate regimes. Because the Bering Sea Project only sampled during cold years, it is only through synthesis with earlier research programs conducted in warm years that we can fully address this question.
Hypothesis 3 LCZ and SCZ reliance on microzooplankton as intermediaries between primary and mesozooplankton production is more important in warm than in cold years. However, in both warm and cold years, microzooplankton are important components of the planktonic food web and mediators of carbon and energy flow.
Question 3.1 How does the three-step food web (phytoplankton-microzooplankton-CZ) vary among domains and seasons, between warm and cold years, as a function of stratification and in relation to the chl-a maximum?
Question 3.2 How does the abundance, biomass and composition of microzooplankton effect energy/carbon transfer efficiencies from phytoplankton to CZ?
Question 3.3 Are large (LCZ) or small (SCZ) crustacean mesozooplankton more dependent on microzooplankton than on phytoplankton?