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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 266:89-101 (2004)  -  doi:10.3354/meps266089

Retention efficiency of 0.2 to 6 µm particles by the appendicularians Oikopleura dioica and Fritillaria borealis

Diego Fernández1,*, Ángel López-Urrutia1,4, Antonio Fernández2, José Luis Acuña1, Roger Harris3

1Área de Ecología, Departamento de Biología de Organismos y Sistemas, Universidad de Oviedo, C/ Catedrático Rodrigo Uría (S/N), Oviedo 33071, Spain
2Departamento de Matemática Aplicada, Universidad de Salamanca, Avda. Requejo, 33 Campus Viriato, Zamora 37008, Spain
3Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Prospect Place, West Hoe, Plymouth PL1 3DH, UK
4Present address: Centro Oceanográfico de Gijón, Instituto Español de Oceanografía, Avda. Príncipe de Asturias, 70 bis, 33212 Gijón, Spain

ABSTRACT: We used suspensions of 0.2, 0.5, 0.75, 1, 2, 3 and 6 µm fluorescent beads in combination with analytical flow cytometry to determine the efficiency of retention by small (165 µm trunk length), medium (347 µm) and large (689 and 734 µm) Oikopleura dioica, and by large (585 µm) Fritillaria borealis. Large O. dioica and F. borealis were the most efficient at retaining the 2 µm beads, and small and medium O. dioica were most efficient for 1 µm beads. Large O. dioica and F. borealis showed efficiencies of ca. 15% for 0.2 µm, 33% for 0.5 µm, 58% for 0.75 µm beads, 66% for 1 µm beads and 88% for 2 µm beads. However, small O. dioica showed higher efficiencies, measuring ca. 10% for 0.2 µm, 43% for 0.5 µm, 72% for 0.75 µm beads, 87% for 1 µm beads and 93% for 2 µm beads. The combination of our measured appendicularian particle-retention efficiency spectra with typical particle size-distribution spectra in the ocean indicates that large and small appendicularians obtain 80% of their diet from particles smaller than 15 and 7 µm respectively, and that the smallest particles represent a significant part of their diet only when they strongly dominate the biomass size spectra. Comparison with data from the literature indicates that although the appendicularian:prey length ratio is extremely high, the appendicularian:prey body-carbon ratio (14538:1) is within the reported range for mesozooplankton (1:1 to ca. 3 ×106:1), and statistically undistinguishable from that of copepods (1603:1).

KEY WORDS: Appendicularian · Retention efficiency · Prey size · Diet · Tunicate · Oikopleura · Fritillaria

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Corrigendum MEPS 533

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