Nitrogen Consumption and Metabolism in Marine Zooplankton

Deborah K. Steinberg, Grace K. Saba

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

35 Scopus citations


This chapter focuses on the important role that zooplankton play in nitrogen cycling by following the path of the food from ingestion to all aspects and stages of metabolism. It begins with a discussion of N consumption, including the nitrogenous composition of available food types, rates of N consumption, and effects of food quality. The various aspects of N metabolism, emphasizing the importance to biogeochemical cycling and coupling with other major elements (carbon, phosphorus) are also discussed. Considerable progress in our understanding of the role of marine zooplankton in nitrogen cycling has been made in the last two decades. Studies are now at the stage where large data sets are being compiled, and it is possible, for example, to reasonably predict ammonia excretion as a function of body mass for a given organism and temperature using regression equations-and avoid doing experimental incubations. These individual, size-specific excretion rates can be scaled up to a community rate if total biomass and size structure of the community is known. A common theme throughout this review is that more information is needed on the role of marine protozoa, gelatinous zooplankton, and of taxa living below the euphotic zone in N consumption and metabolism. Consumption of phytoplankton and bacteria by microzooplankton are key processes in N transformations in the ocean. © 2008

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNitrogen in the Marine Environment
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages62
ISBN (Print)9780123725226
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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