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Activity patterns in the terebellid polychaete Eupolymnia nebulosa assessed using a new image analysis system
Maire, O.; Duchene, J.C.; Amouroux, J.M.; Grémare, A. (2007). Activity patterns in the terebellid polychaete Eupolymnia nebulosa assessed using a new image analysis system. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 151(2): 737-749.
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Maire, O.
  • Duchene, J.C.
  • Amouroux, J.M.
  • Grémare, A., more

    The activity and surface sediment displacement by the terebellid polychaete Eupolymnia nebulosa were monitored, using new image acquisition and image analysis procedures. We used a video sensor mounted on a motorized table, to acquire adjacent images of the whole studied aquarium within about 2 s. These images were then grouped within a composite image acquired every 15 s. Consecutive composite images were compared to infer activity and surface sediment displacement. This procedure proved efficient for E. nebulosa as indicated by (1) the continuity of the tentacles within composite images, and (2) the direct comparison of images and detected activities. There were important temporal changes in the relative importance of the three main types of activity: feeding, tube-building and (both partial and total) emergence from the tube, accounting, respectively, for 75, 15 and 10% of the entire experiment duration. Activity intensity (cm2 min-1) was assessed through the surface of pixels with grey levels differing by more than 20 (on a 0–255 scale) between two consecutive images. Feeding was associated with low activity intensity, whereas tube-building and emergence from the tubes were associated with high activity intensities. Surface sediment displacement mostly resulted from tentacle activity both during feeding and tube-building and was almost zero when worms emerged from their tube. We used our experimental set up to assess spatial changes in activity intensity and particle displacements along the tentacles. Most of the activity occurred within the first 4–6 cm from the tube aperture. Particle loss during their transfer along the tentacles preferentially affected larger particles as postulated by the model of particle selection and transport in tentaculate deposit-feeders. Moreover, the speed of the particles along the tentacles correlated negatively with their size. This contributed to increase in the residence time of larger particles on the tentacles and thus, to further enhance their probability of being lost. The size distributions of particles during feeding and tube-building did not differ significantly although visual observations confirmed the preferential use of larger particles for tube-building. This suggests the existence of a sorting step occurring elsewhere than on the tentacles as already demonstrated for spionid polychaetes.

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