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Experimental nutrition in the soft coral Alcyonium digitatum (Cnidaria: Octocorallia): removal rate of phytoplankton and zooplankton
Migné, A.; Davoult, D. (2002). Experimental nutrition in the soft coral Alcyonium digitatum (Cnidaria: Octocorallia): removal rate of phytoplankton and zooplankton. Cah. Biol. Mar. 43: 9-16
In: Cahiers de Biologie Marine. Station Biologique de Roscoff: Paris. ISSN 0007-9723, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Experimental research; Filter feeders; Alcyonium digitatum Linnaeus, 1758 [WoRMS]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Migné, A.
  • Davoult, D., more

Abstract
    The soft coral Alcyonium digitatum, a passive suspension feeder, is one of the three dominant species of the Dover Strait pebbles macrobenthic community (eastern English Channel). In order to study the exchanges between the water column and this community exposed to strong tidal currents, two sets of nutrition experiments were performed on the octocoral. A mean removal rate of phytoplankton or zooplankton organisms was first calculated through experiments conducted in small enclosures, using cultures of diatoms Skeletonema costatum and of Artemia sp. nauplii. As the removal rate (± standard deviation) of zooplankton (0.79 ± 0.48 mg C g-1 h-1) was much higher than the removal rate of phytoplankton (0.16 ± 0.07 mg C g-1 h-1), Artemia sp. nauplii were used as feeding particles in the following experiments performed in a flume under a controlled flow. Three experiments are presented here under average condition of food availability and current speed.The mean removal rate was 0.64 ± 0.16 mg C g-1 h-1. These experiments clearly show the efficiency of this type of approach to characterize the nutrition of this benthic species as a function of the nutritive particle flow. They allow an evaluation of the transfer of organic carbon from the water column to the benthic population.

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