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Short-term changes in feeding and digestion by the copepodCalanus pacificus

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The planktonic marine copepodCalanus pacificus exhibits an enhanced feeding rate, or hunger response, when exposed to food following short periods of starvation. In a scries of laboratory experiments with copepods collected from the main basin of Puget Sound, Washington, during 1982 and 1984, we measured maximum ingestion rate, assimilation efficiency, and digestive enzyme activity to determine the time scales over which the feeding behavior ofC. pacificus responds to increases in food. These laboratory results were then compared to field studies of diel fluctuations in digestive enzymes and gut fluorescence ofC. pacificus in Dabod Bay, a fjord of Puget Sound, during September, 1980, and the closely relatedC. marshallae off the Washington coast, in August, 1981. Laboratory experiments demonstrated that the hunger response ofC. pacificus lasts approximately 6 h before ingestion rate returns to a steady state level of about one-half maximum. On the order of 12h of starvation were required to induce the maximum ingestion rate of the hunger response. Digestive enzyme activities did not change over these time scales. Assimilation efficiency peaked within a few hours of the onset of feeding, with low initial rates possibly related to the period of starvation prior to feeding. These results were consistent with diel patterns observed in the field. The hunger response ofC. pacificus appears to be controlled by processes within the gut, and our results are discussed in relation to recent studies of the digestive processes of calanoid copepods.

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Contribution No. 1772 from the School of Oceanography, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA

Communicated by P. C. Schroeder, Pullman

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Hassett, R.P., Landry, M.R. Short-term changes in feeding and digestion by the copepodCalanus pacificus . Mar. Biol. 99, 63–74 (1988). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00644978

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  • Laboratory Experiment
  • Ingestion Rate
  • Digestive Enzyme
  • Steady State Level
  • Rate Return