copepod 3


Tiny copepods from deep in the ocean abyss, where the sun doesn’t shine.
Planktonic copepods are approx. 1 to 2 mm long. They are important to global ecology and the carbon cycle. Some scientists say they form the largest animal biomass on earth. The surface layers of the oceans are currently believed to be the world’s largest carbon sink, absorbing about 2 billion tons of carbon a year, the equivalent to perhaps a third of human carbon emissions, thus reducing their impact. Many planktonic copepods feed near the surface at night, then sink (by changing oils into more dense fats) into deeper water during the day to avoid visual predators. Their moulted exoskeletons, faecal pellets and respiration at depth all bring carbon to the deep sea.