Zooplankton in ecological research
Zooplankton research, like research on other groups of organisms, is very diverse. Some examples of research directions:
- Biodiversity and biogeography: only 10% of the world’s zooplankton species have probably been discovered, some 7,000 species, and some 70,000 are still undiscovered.
- Consequences of human induced changes to the environment such as climate change and overfertilisation. This can have major consequences for how many and which types of plankton can live somewhere, which in turn can affect animals that depend on this plankton for their food.
- Fisheries research; for example, research into the presence of fish larvae in order to estimate how healthy a fish population is.
- Taxonomy and evolution; for example, studying the relationship between different populations of zooplankton and the factors that influence it.
- Distribution of invasive species; for example, to predict whether an invasive species may cause problems by competing with or eating other species.
I myself have carried out research into various aspects of zooplankton. For my PhD thesis I investigated the possible consequences of the introduction of the American comb jellyfish Mnemiopsis leidyi in Dutch waters, and whether there will be long-term changes in the distribution and composition of jellyfish in the Netherlands. Later, I conducted more applied research into the possible impact of sustainable energy production by Blue Energy on zooplankton. See my personal website for more information.