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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 120:175-184 (1995)  -  doi:10.3354/meps120175

Growth and energetics in the ascidian Ciona intestinalis

Petersen, J. K., Schou, O., Thor, P.

Rates of growth, filtration and respiration of the ascidian Ciona intestinalis (L.) were measured in the laboratory in the presence of food (flagellate Rhodomonas sp.) concentrations ranging from 0 to 12000 cells ml-1 (0 to 500 ug C l-1). Weight-specific growth rate (dry weight of body parts not including the tunic) increased sigmoidally with increasing algal cell concentration to 7.7% d-1. Maximum specific growth rate was related to age rather than size. A condition index (CI = DWbody/DWtotal) reflected level of growth. Specific filtration rate decreased logarithmically with increased algal cell concentration. Weight-specific respiration rate showed a relation to algal cell concentration similar to that shown by weight-specific growth rate. All rates were transformed into units of carbon, and a carbon budget was established for 2 size groups. Assimilation efficiency (AE) was approximately 50% but decreased at the highest carbon concentrations. The amount of carbon assimilated per body unit that was needed to maintain body (not including the tunic) or total (including the tunic) carbon was independent of initial size and amounted to 10 or 16 ugC mgC-1 d-1, respectively. Gross growth efficiency (GGE) and net growth efficiency (NGE) varied with food concentration and approached a level of 0.23 or 0.78, respectively, in terms of body carbon. In terms of total carbon, GGE was found to be 0.27 to 0.28 and NGE to be 0.79. Costs of maintenance were greater in the largest ascidians, while costs of body growth were equal in the 2 size groups (0.21 to 0.23).

Ascidian . Growth . Respiration . Food concentration . Carbon budget

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