<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> 2005Design1
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ABUNDANCE (by GA Boxshall) How do we know how many copepods there are? Well, we don't know, but we can make a reasonable estimate. The world is largely covered by oceans - 71% covered to be precise - to an average depth of 3.7km. This huge volume of water, 1.347 million cubic kilometers, represents the largest biome on planet Earth and it is home to copepods from top to bottom. The calculation runs like this:
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Probably some of the more adventurous (but ecologically correct) entrepreneurs among you are asking "how can we sustainably exploit nature's bounty?" We already do, indirectly, since most aquatic food webs that eventually lead up to fishes of commercial importance have copepods in as one of the early links. Direct consumption isn't recommended - the last time I had copepod soup I was picking them out from my teeth for days afterwards
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  • There is 1347 million cubic kilometers of ocean [1.347 x 10exp9 cubic km]
  • 1 cubic kilometer = 1 x 10exp12 liters
  • So 1.347 x 10exp9 cubic km = 1.347 x 10exp21 liters
  • Assuming just one copepod per liter (probably a gross underestimate) leads us to calculate that we share the planet with at least:
1,347,000,000,000,000,000,000 copepods
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Boxshall GA. 1998. back to OBJECTIVES 1
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© STRICKLER, UWM 2005 back to Strickler Central