Friday, May 7, 2010
May 7, 2010 : Sea Salp
A salp (plural salps; also salpa, plural salpae or salpas) is a barrel-shaped, free-floating tunicate. It moves by contracting, thus pumping water through its gelatinous body. The salp strains the pumped water through its internal feeding filters, feeding on phytoplankton that it sieves out of the water.
Salps are common in equatorial, temperate, and cold seas, where they can be seen at the surface, singly or in long, stringy colonies. The most abundant concentrations of salps are in the Southern Ocean (near Antarctica). Here they sometimes form enormous swarms, often in deep water, and are sometimes even more abundant than krill. Over the last century, while krill populations in the Southern Ocean have declined, salp populations appear to be increasing.