Autumn is a nostalgic time. The days grow shorter and the nights grow longer. The narrow angle of the sun casts long shadows, and the dry frigid air sucks the moisture from my breath. It's this time of year when the copepod in me starts to think about packing on fat stores, reducing my metabolic rate, and descending into dormancy for the long winter.
Myself, I've never actually diapaused. But lots of copepods do it--not just in the winter, but in some parts of the ocean, when conditions are unfavorable, some species diapause at other times of year. One thing that I do, however, is fill the dark autumn hours mining databases to answer questions about copepods. For example, check out this map:
(click to enlarge)
Can you guess what it is? You might need to squint. It's a little map I put together showing all of the places (according to the OBIS database) where oceanographers have recorded a species that undergoes diapause. You can see right off the strong bias toward where people have done more sampling (the North Atlantic). You can also see that most of the action is near the poles--but there are a few other interesting spots, such as upwelling regions around Africa and the Arabian Sea, as well as the Black Sea.
The map isn't quite complete, but all this talk of diapause has made me sleepy.
Nick Record, signing off