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Press Release 11-073
Death--Not Just Life--Important Link in Marine Ecosystems

Carcasses of copepods--numerous organisms in world seas--provide insights into oceanic food webs

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Illustration showing the role of copepods in the food web of an estuary.

Copepods play an important role in the food webs of estuaries like Chesapeake Bay.

Credit: Maryland Department of Natural Resources


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Map of the Chesapeake Bay showing sampling sites with images of stained copepods and ctenophores.

Sampling sites, shown with stained copepods and jellyfish-like ctenophores that prey on copepods.

Credit: David Elliott


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Images showing 13 developmental stages of copepod Acartia tonsa from egg through adult.

The copepod Acartia tonsa has 13 developmental stages, from egg through adult (clockwise).

Credit: David Elliott


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Images of copepod Acartia tonsa carcasses at different stages of decomposition.

Copepod Acartia tonsa carcasses at different stages of decomposition.

Credit: Kam Tang


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Graph of time after death of copepod versus depth below point of origination as function of salinity

A copepod carcass sinks slowly in still waters, becoming neutrally buoyant in seawater.

Credit: David Elliott


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