COPEPOD logo  
The COPEPOD Project
a resource for plankton and ecosystems data and visualization tools
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C oastal &
O ceanic
P lankton
E cology,
P roduction &
O bservation
D atabase
"About" sub-sections:   [ COPEPOD: the global plankton database   |   COPEPODITE: the time-series explorer   |   NAUPLIUS: ecosystems data & visualization ]

photo example of a zooplankton copepod species

Example of a copepod, species Valdiviella insignis.   To the unaided eye, this zooplankton is less than 2 mm in length.
Drifting microscopic organisms called 'plankton' can be found in every ocean, lake, and freshwater body of the world.   The smallest members, microbial plankton and phytoplankton, form the base of the food web, recycling organic materials and turning sunlight into new materials.   Tiny planktonic predators, zooplankton, capture these materials (and each other) and continue the food web into larger and larger zooplankton, fish, birds, whales, and humans.

figure showing the copepod life cycle
Illustration of the copepod life cycle.
A "copepod" is a type of zooplankton, a planktonic crustacean distantly related to shrimp and crabs.   Copepods are one of the most common and easily recognized types of zooplankton, found in almost every ocean, sea, and freshwater habitat, even in deep underground caves.

Copepods hatch from eggs, spending the first part of their lives as a mite-like, larval "nauplius".   The nauplii then molt into a juvenile "copepodite" stage, which has a form similar to the adult.   The copepodites eventually develop into the adult form when sexually mature.

COPEPOD logo     COPEPOD is an acronym for the Coastal & Oceanic Plankton Ecology, Production, & Observation Database, a global plankton database that contains over 400,000 observations of copepods (along with other zooplankton, phytoplankton, and microbial plankton taxa).   The COPEPOD project is an effort by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS, aka "NOAA Fisheries") to provide fisheries and marine ecosystems investigators with an integrated data set of quality-reviewed, globally distributed plankton data along with co-sampled environmental hydrographic and meteorological data.   These data are provided in a variety of forms (e.g., spatial mean fields, time-series, graphical maps and figures) and compilations (e.g., from individual data sets to regional compilations).

COPEPOD 10 years celebration logo
The COPEPOD project consists of three components:

Click on any of the red linked titles above to learn more about that COPEPOD sub-component.