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Carbon and Lipid Contents of the Copepod Calanus finmarchicus Entering Diapause in the Fram Strait and Their Contribution to the Boreal and Arctic Lipid Pump

Tarling, Geraint A.; Belcher, Anna; Blackwell, Mayleen; Castellani, Claudia; Cook, Kathryn Barbara; Cottier, Finlo R.; Dewar-Fowler, Victoria; Freer, Jennifer J.; Gerrish, Laura; Johnson, Magnus L.; Last, Kim S.; Lindeque, Penelope Kate; Mayor, Daniel J.; Parry, Helen E.; Stowasser, Gabriele; Wootton, Marianne


Geraint A. Tarling

Anna Belcher

Mayleen Blackwell

Claudia Castellani

Kathryn Barbara Cook

Finlo R. Cottier

Victoria Dewar-Fowler

Jennifer J. Freer

Laura Gerrish

Kim S. Last

Penelope Kate Lindeque

Daniel J. Mayor

Helen E. Parry

Gabriele Stowasser

Marianne Wootton


The boreal copepod Calanus finmarchicus sequesters substantial amounts of carbon (C) in the deep layers of the North Atlantic Ocean through their contribution to the “lipid pump.” This pump is driven by these zooplankton descending from the surface layers to spend prolonged periods at depth during which time they metabolise substantial lipid reserves and a fraction suffer mortality. C. finmarchicus is principally a boreal species but is expatriated by currents flowing northwards into Arctic regions such as the Fram Strait, where it is now able to complete its life cycle. We considered how this expansion to its distributional range adds to the estimated magnitude of the lipid pump. Field sampling in the Fram Strait found C. finmarchicus abundance to be spatially variable with high values, equivalent to those reported for core distributional areas further south, found mainly in the eastern region. Lipid reserve levels were sufficient for many individuals to survive the overwintering period and reproduce the following spring. In accordance with abundance patterns, lipid pump magnitude was greater in the Eastern Fram Strait (2.04 g C m−2 year−1) compared to the Western Fram Strait (0.33 g C m−2 year−1). At least for the eastern region, these rates are similar to those reported for this species elsewhere (average of 4.35 g C m−2 year−1). When extrapolated to the wider spatial area of the Fram Strait, the lipid pump generated by this species in this ocean sector amounts to 0.3 Mt C year−1. Although constituting a modest proportion of the total C. finmarchicus lipid pump of 19.3 Mt C year−1, it indicates that the continued northwards expansion of this species will act to increase the size of its lipid pump, which may counteract that lost through the northwards retreat of its Arctic congeners, Calanus glacialis and Calanus hyperboreus.


Tarling, G. A., Belcher, A., Blackwell, M., Castellani, C., Cook, K. B., Cottier, F. R., …Wootton, M. (2022). Carbon and Lipid Contents of the Copepod Calanus finmarchicus Entering Diapause in the Fram Strait and Their Contribution to the Boreal and Arctic Lipid Pump. Frontiers in Marine Science, 9, Article 926462.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 23, 2022
Online Publication Date Jun 28, 2023
Publication Date Jun 28, 2022
Deposit Date Nov 1, 2023
Publicly Available Date Nov 2, 2023
Journal Frontiers in Marine Science
Electronic ISSN 2296-7745
Publisher Frontiers Media
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 9
Article Number 926462
Keywords Calanoid; Overwinter; Life cycle; Carbon flux; Arctic Ocean
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Copyright Statement
Copyright © 2022 Tarling, Belcher, Blackwell, Castellani, Cook, Cottier, Dewar-Fowler, Freer, Gerrish, Johnson, Last, Lindeque, Mayor, Parry, Stowasser and Wootton. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

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