The Energy Budget of a Population of the Antarctic Isopod Serolis polita

  • R. A. Luxmoore


A population of the predatory benthic isopod Serolis polita was studied at Signy Island, South Orkney Islands, for 2 consecutive years. Field observations of population structure, growth rate and reproductive biology were complemented by laboratory measurements of respiratory rate and assimilation efficiency, and used to construct a computer model of the energy expenditure of all sections of the population. The complete annual energy budget (in kJ m−2 yr−1) was calculated as Consumption (289) = Production (115) + Respiration (108) + Faeces (58) + Excretion (9), with a mean biomass of 113 kJ m−2. Energy consumption was found to be markedly seasonal with the majority of growth and reproductive output occurring in the summer. Total energy consumption was lower in winter with respiratory costs predominating. The relatively high assimilation efficiency (80%) on a diet of amphipods and polychaetes is characteristic of other isopods, but the gross growth efficiency (40%) and the net growth efficiency (52%) are surprisingly high in view of the organism’s 4-yr life cycle. The ecological implications of this are discussed. The turnover rate (P/B) is low (1.02) in comparison with other marine isopods studied, and is considered to be related to the large body size. This is discussed as a general feature of the Antarctic marine ecosystem and may help to explain the observed high biomasses without the need to infer unusually high productivity.


Energy Budget Large Body Size Assimilation Efficiency South Orkney Island British Antarctic Survey 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. A. Luxmoore
    • 1
  1. 1.British Antarctic SurveyNERCCambridgeUK

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