The trophic linkage between zooplankton and benthic suspension feeders: direct evidence from analyses of bivalve faecal pellets
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Using radiotracer (14C) and microscopic observation, we demonstrated that mussels (Mytilus edulis and Perna viridis) could be predators of mesozooplankton (rotifer Brachionus plicatilis). At radio-labelled rotifer densities of 0.1, 0.2, 0.5, 1.0 individual ml−1, faecal pellets of mussels showed different degrees of radio signals and most of the faecal pellets were expelled 4 h after pulse feeding on rotifers. The maximum gut retention time (GRT) of 14C-labelled rotifers in the digestive diverticula did not o show any significant difference between the two mussel species or the different densities of rotifers, and the averaged GRT was 43.4±3.06 h (mean ± SE). At a rotifer density of 4.5 individual ml−1, rotifer lorica pieces and rotifer bodies without eggs were found in faeces of M. edulis, while in the pseudofaeces, only complete rotifer bodies were found.
KeywordsPhytoplankton Microalgae Bivalve Faecal Pellet Isochrysis
All the reviewers are appreciated for their suggestions and comments. We also thank Lora Pride for her review to improve the quality of an early version of this manuscript. This work was supported by the Hudson River Foundation (00798A) and the US National Science Foundation (OCE 9811380). Green mussels were collected by Dr. Patrick Baker. We thank Dr. Nicholas Fisher and Benjamin Twining for their laboratory support.
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