Escape Behavior in Temora longicornis when exposed to Karenia brevis and Alexandrium fundyense

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Angra, Aakanksha
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Recent studies have shown that copepods exhibit complex behaviors. Copepods are ocean-dwelling crustaceans that form the base of the marine food web. With the increase in global temperatures, there has been an increase in naturally occurring harmful algal blooms. The purpose of this project was to determine the effects of harmful algal blooms such as Karenia brevis and Alexandrium fundyense on the escape behaviors of the small North Atlantic copepod, Temora longicornis. The experiments were performed in the schlieren optics system tank. A siphon was used to mimic the fish’s mouth. Data were collected via a high speed camera. Detection distance, escape distance, and escape speed were analyzed. Temora longicornis escape ability was not affected in terms of escape speed and escape distance after feeding on A fundyense. Copepods exposed to K.brevis, however, exhibited the furthest escape distance, largest average escape speed, and highest maximum speed of all other treatments. This conspicuous escape behavior increases the probability that they will fall prey to visual predators. Increased predation rates on HAB-affected copepods may facilitate the bioaccumulation of brevetoxins up the marine food chain with possible deleterious effects on humans consuming these fish.
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