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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 398:149-155 (2010)  -  DOI:

Prey-capture rates in four Mediterranean cold water corals

Georgios Tsounis1,*, Covadonga Orejas1,2, Stéphanie Reynaud3, Josep-Maria Gili1, Denis Allemand3, Christine Ferrier-Pagès3

1Institut de Ciències de Mar (CSIC), Passeig Marítim de la Barceloneta 37-49, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
2Centro Oceanográfico de Santander (IEO), Promontorio de San Martin s/n, 39004 Santander, Cantabria, Spain
3Centre Scientifique de Monaco, Avenue Saint-Martin, 98000 Monaco (Principality)

ABSTRACT: Little is known about the basic biology of deep-water coral species. In this study, we experimentally assessed the rates of ingestion of Artemia salina adults and nauplii by the 4 Mediterranean cold water coral species Dendrophyllia cornigera, Desmophyllum cristagalli, Madrepora oculata, and Lophelia pertusa. All species ingested A. salina in adult and nauplii forms. L. pertusa showed the highest grazing rate for both prey types, whereas M. oculata showed the lowest capture rates among the 4 species, and was practically unable to ingest adult prey. Capture rates of the 4 coral species ranged between 5 and 8 adult A. salina, and 50 and 280 nauplii polyp–1 h–1. Surprisingly, both capture rates and carbon uptake (adult Artemia ingestion: 994 to 3542 µg C polyp–1 h–1; nauplii ingestion: 78.1 to 462 µg C polyp–1 h–1) were within the range of values found in some tropical corals (which often ingest 0.004 to 3600 prey items polyp–1 h–1). The results show that the capture rates and energy input of the studied cold water coral species appear to be on a level that is comparable to that of other corals, even tropical zooxanthellate species.

KEY WORDS: Cold water corals · Grazing rates · Colony size · Trophic ecology · Benthic-pelagic coupling

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Cite this article as: Tsounis G, Orejas C, Reynaud S, Gili JM, Allemand D, Ferrier-Pagès C (2010) Prey-capture rates in four Mediterranean cold water corals. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 398:149-155.

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