|Diatom feeding across trophic guilds in tidal flat nematodes, and the importance of diatom cell size|In: Journal of Sea Research. Elsevier/Netherlands Institute for Sea Research: Amsterdam; Den Burg. ISSN 1385-1101, more
Bacillariophyceae [WoRMS]; Nematoda [WoRMS]; Marine; Brackish water
Nematodes; Diatoms; Herbivory; Size Selection; Intertidal; Feeding Types
|Authors|| || Top |
- Moens, T., more
- Vafeiadou, A.-M., more
- De Geyter, E.
We examine the capacity of nematodes from three feeding types (deposit feeder, epistrate feeder, predator) to utilize microphytobenthos (MPB), and assess whether diatom cell size and consumer body size are important drivers of their feeding. We analyzed natural stable isotope ratios of carbon and nitrogen in abundant nematode genera and a variety of carbon sources at an estuarine intertidal flat. All nematodes had d13C indicating that MPB is their major carbon source. d15N, however, demonstrated that only one deposit and one epistrate feeder genus obtained most of their carbon from direct grazing on MPB, whereas other deposit feeders and predators obtained at least part of their carbon by predation on MPB grazers. We then performed a microcosm experiment in which equal cell numbers of each of three differently sized strains of the pennate diatom Seminavis were offered as food to four, one and one genera of deposit feeders, epistrate feeders and predators, respectively. Previous studies have shown that all but the epistrate feeder ingest whole diatoms, whereas the epistrate feeder pierces cells and sucks out their contents. Most genera showed markedly higher carbon absorption from medium and large cells than from small ones. When considering the number of cells consumed, however, none of the nematodes which ingest whole cells exhibited a clear preference for any specific diatom size. The epistrate feeder was the smallest nematode taxon considered here, yet it showed a marked preference for large cells. These results highlight that the feeding mechanism is much more important than consumer size as a driver of particle size selection in nematodes grazing MPB.