All you can eat: the functional response of the cold-water coral Desmophyllum dianthus feeding on krill and copepods


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Claudio.Richter [ at ] awi.de

Abstract

The feeding behavior of the cosmopolitan cold-water coral (CWC) Desmophyllum dianthus (Cnidaria: Scleractinia) is still poorly known. Its usual deep distribution restricts direct observations, and manipulative experiments are so far limited to prey that do not occur in CWC natural habitat. During a series of replicated incubations, we assessed the functional response of this coral feeding on a medium-sized copepod (Calanoides patagoniensis) and a large euphausiid (Euphausia vallentini). Corals showed a Type I functional response, where feeding rate increased linearly with prey abundance, as predicted for a tentaculate passive suspension feeder. No significant differences in feeding were found between prey items, and corals were able to attain a maximum feeding rate of 10.99 mg C h-1, which represents an ingestion of the 11.4% of the coral carbon biomass per hour. These findings suggest that D. dianthus is a generalist zooplankton predator capable of exploiting dense aggregations of zooplankton over a wide prey size-range.



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Scopus/ISI peer-reviewed
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Published
Eprint ID
48653
DOI 10.7717/peerj.5872

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Höfer, J. , González, H. E. , Laudien, J. , Schmidt, G. M. , Häussermann, V. and Richter, C. (2018): All you can eat: the functional response of the cold-water coral Desmophyllum dianthus feeding on krill and copepods , PeerJ, 6 , e5872 . doi: 10.7717/peerj.5872


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