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Natural dimethyl sulfide gradients would lead marine predators to higher prey biomass


Owen, K and Saeki, K and Warren, JD and Bocconcelli, A and Wiley, DN and Ohira, SI and Bombosch, A and Toda, K and Zitterbart, DP, Natural dimethyl sulfide gradients would lead marine predators to higher prey biomass, Communications Biology, 4, (1) Article 149. ISSN 2399-3642 (2021) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

2021. The Authors. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License, (, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

DOI: doi:10.1038/s42003-021-01668-3


Finding prey is essential to survival, with marine predators hypothesised to track chemicals such as dimethyl sulfide (DMS) while foraging. Many predators are attracted to artificially released DMS, and laboratory experiments have shown that zooplankton grazing on phytoplankton accelerates DMS release. However, whether natural DMS concentrations are useful for predators and correlated to areas of high prey biomass remains a fundamental knowledge gap. Here, we used concurrent hydroacoustic surveys and in situ DMS measurements to present evidence that zooplankton biomass is spatially correlated to natural DMS concentration in air and seawater. Using agent simulations, we also show that following gradients of DMS would lead zooplankton predators to areas of higher prey biomass than swimming randomly. Further understanding of the conditions and scales over which these gradients occur, and how they are used by predators, is essential to predicting the impact of future changes in the ocean on predator foraging success.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:dimethyl sulfide, marine predator, DMS, zooplankton, foraging success
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Behavioural ecology
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences
UTAS Author:Owen, K (Dr Kylie Owen)
ID Code:150638
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:4
Deposited By:Oceans and Cryosphere
Deposited On:2022-06-23
Last Modified:2022-07-29
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