MEPS 156:151-156 (1997)  -  doi:10.3354/meps156151

Metabolism and habitat competition in the polychaete Nereis virens

Hélène Lemieux1, Pierre U. Blier1,*, France Dufresne1, Gaston Desrosiers2

1Département de Biologie, 2Département d'Océanographie, Université du Québec à Rimouski, 300 allée des Ursulines, Rimouski, Québec, Canada G5L 3A1
*Addressee for correspondence.

The relationship between metabolism and performance during habitat competition in the polychaete Nereis virens (Sars) was determined. Twenty paired habitat competition experiments were initiated between individuals of similar body mass. The outcome of the competition and the time spent competing for the burrow were noted for each encounter. Protein and lipid contents as well as enzyme activity (cytochrome C oxidase, lactate dehydrogenase, and pyruvate kinase) were compared between winners and losers. There were no significant differences between winners and losers for all parameters. There was, however, a significant relationship between fight duration and enzyme activity for winners. Individuals that won a fight rapidly had more cytochrome C oxidase activity than individuals who fought longer to gain access to the burrow. We conclude that metabolic capacities are not correlated with the outcome of habitat competition but that aerobic capacity is an important predictor of fight duration.


Polychaete · Metabolism · Habitat competition · Cytochrome C oxidase · Lactate dehydrogenase · Pyruvate kinase


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