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The food web in the pelagic environment
Margalef, R. (1967). The food web in the pelagic environment. Helgol. Wiss. Meeresunters. 15(1-4): 548-559. dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF01618650
In: Helgoländer Wissenschaftliche Meeresuntersuchungen. Biologische Anstalt Helgoland: Hamburg. ISSN 0017-9957
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Margalef, R. (1967). The food web in the pelagic environment, in: Kinne, O. et al. (Ed.) Vorträge und Diskussionen. Erstes Europäisches Symposion über Meeresbiologie = Papers and discussions. First European Symposium on Marine Biology = Rapports et discussions. Premier symposium européen sur biologie marine. Helgoländer Wissenschaftliche Meeresuntersuchungen, 15(1-4): pp. 548-559. dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF01618650, meer

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  • Margalef, R.

Abstract
    1. The study of grazing along ecological successions helps in understanding how the mechanisms of transfer of energy evolve and provides a measure of its effectiveness in the different situations. Phytoplankton populations show regular changes along succession. Average size of cells and relative abundance of mobile organisms increase, and productivity or rate of multiplication slows down; there are also changes in the chemical composition, exemplified in the plant pigments by an absolute and relative decrease of chlorophyll a.2. Along a succession, animals are offered different kinds of food, and the resulting selection produces a shift in the composition of zooplankton populations. The speed at which phytoplankton succession proceeds is a very important factor, and grazing may be effective in the regulation of such speed. In a general way, along usual successions, food in the form of small particles, richly suspended in a more or less turbulent environment, is replaced by scarcer food concentrated in bigger units and dispersed in a more organized (stratified) environment.3. Indiscriminate filter feeders are at an advantage in the first stages of succession, but it can be shown that, given the usual properties of food organisms in later stages, it pays to adopt a more selective and hunting behaviour and to concentrate more and more on bigger prey. The effectiveness of such adaptation depends on the distribution of food in size classes and also on its mobility or other clues that prey organisms can offer, and, in general, on the predictability of their distribution. Divergence between microphagous passive filterers and macrophagous hunters must be rapid. Distribution of populations of copepods along time and in relation with phytoplankton distribution sustain such views.4. In general, in later stages of succession, total transfer of energy may be lower, buts its efficiency seems to be regularly improved. Similar considerations could be extended to the discussion of energy transfer between other, superior, trophic levels.

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