Laboratory experiments on meiobenthic copepods using 14C-diatoms were conducted to investigate whether: (1) feeding rates or (2) food sources (planktonically-suspended foods or benthic sediment-associated foods) vary in response to the presence or absence of water-cover (i.e. simulated Higher-water vs Low-water conditions). Three diatom-feeding harpacticoids were examined. Scottolana canadensis feeds at significantly higher rates (2x) during Higher-water (HW) conditions (P<0.001), at which time it consumes planktonic foods; during Low-water (LW), feeding is greatly reduced. These feeding patterns are related to its burrow-dwelling and to its subtidal habitat. Cletocamptus deitersi remains virtually unaffected by changes in ambient water-cover, feeding at nearly equal rates during HW and LW conditions but always tending to consume more benthic diatoms. Microarthridion littorale consumes food at nearly equal rates during HW and LW conditions, but does so by shifting its feeding mode. During HW-times it makes excursions into the water column, feeding on planktonically-suspended foods. During LW-times it feeds benthically, moving over the sediment surface. Such feeding differences must affect meso-scale distributions of meiobenthos in the field, total benthic consumption and energy-flow estimates over a tidal-cycle, and the coupling of benthic and pelagic systems.
Published in Marine Ecology Progress Series, Volume 33, 1986, pages 139-146.
Decho, A. W. (1986). Water-cover influences on diatom ingestion rates of meiobenthic copepods. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 33, 139-146.
© Marine Ecology Progress Series, 1986, Inter Research