Copepods are amongst the most abundant animals on our planet. Who knew?! These small (typically 1–10 mm) crustaceans are found in all of the world’s oceans and play an important role in regulating Earth’s climate. Like wildebeest in the Serengeti graze on grasslands and are food for lions, herbivorous copepods represent a vital link in oceanic food chains between microscopic algae and higher predators, such as fish, birds, and whales. A group of copepods called Calanus are particularly important in the Northern Hemisphere. These tiny-but-mighty animals also share the wildebeest’s need to make a large annual migration—but in their case, they sink thousands of meters downwards to spend the winter in the deep, dark ocean. Understanding the lives of marine copepods, and how their populations will respond to climate change, is crucial for predicting the future health of the marine environment and how it helps our planet.
Authors: Mayor, Daniel J. ORCID record for Daniel J. Mayor, Cook, Kathryn B., Anderson, Thomas R. ORCID record for Thomas R. Anderson, Belcher, Anna ORCID record for Anna Belcher, Jenkins, Holly, Lindeque, Pennie, Tarling, Geraint A. ORCID record for Geraint A. Tarling, Pond, David