Marine Biology

, Volume 102, Issue 4, pp 445–452 | Cite as

RQ of benthic marine invertebrates

  • A. Hatcher


This study investigated an incubation method which employed simultaneous measurement of CO2 production and O2 consumption rates to calculate the RQ (respiratory quotient; CO2 production rate: O2 consumption rate) of individual benthic marine invertebrates. Carbon dioxide production rates were calculated from changes in CO2 concentration determined using seawater pH. O2 consumption rates were calculated from changes in O2 concentration with a correction applied for O2 flux across the air/water interface due to gaseous exchange. Species examined were Triphyllozoon sp. cf. moniliferum (MacGillivray 1860), a bryozoan; Herdmania momus (Savigny), a solitary ascidian; Poneroplax albida (Blainville 1825), a chiton; and Haliotis roei (Gray 1826), an abalone. Six individuals of each were collected on 14 November 1985 from the limestone walls of a cave in a nearshore reef off Marmion, Western Australia. After acclimation for 6 h in experimental conditions, rates of CO2 production and O2 consumption were measured. A minimum period of 4 h was required to obtain consistent RQ values for each species. The standard error (SE) of the (calculated) RQ ratio was 14 to 33% of the mean in incubations of 4 h, and less than 14% in incubations of 4 to 12 h. The RQ is commonly used as an indicator of unknown catabolic substrates by comparing it with biochemically determined limits for known substrates. This study provides a strong argument against using the RQ of individual animals to draw any conclusions about catabolic substrates. Unexplained variation in the components of the RQ of an individual, measured over short time periods, and the potential involvement of stored reserves in catabolism, over longer time periods, obscure the relationship between the RQ of individual animals and the ratio's biochemically determined limits.


Production Rate Consumption Rate Short Time Period Individual Animal Longe Time Period 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Hatcher
    • 1
  1. 1.Marine Biological Laboratories, Department of ZoologyThe University of Western AustraliaNorth BeachAustralia

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