|Substrate-dependent bacterivory by intertidal benthic copepods|Cnudde, C.; Moens, T.; Willems, A.; De Troch, M. (2013). Substrate-dependent bacterivory by intertidal benthic copepods. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 160(2): 327-341. dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00227-012-2091-6
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
The trophic importance of bacteria to harpacticoid copepods in intertidal areas remains poorly understood, and so do the mechanisms of bacterial feeding. It is, for instance, unclear whether harpacticoids directly target bacterial cells or merely co-ingest them with substrates to which bacterial cells may be attached. Here, we investigate bacterial uptake and substrate requirement for four mud intertidal species (Microarthridion littorale, Platychelipus littoralis, Delavalia palustris and Nannopus palustris) by means of 13C-labeled bacteria and biomarker fatty acids (FA). Bacterial uptake strongly depended on grazing on a primary food source but bacterial ingestion rates were low, and no clear indication of copepods directly targeting bacteria was found. Delavalia was the only species that accumulated bacteria-derived FA and gained in polyunsaturated FA (PUFA) probably through bioconversion of bacteria-derived FA. In general, however, our results suggest that bacteria represent a relatively minor and low-quality food for intertidal harpacticoid copepods.