Feeding of the Arctic ctenophore Mertensia ovum in the Baltic Sea: evidence of the use of microbial prey
2014 (English)In: Journal of Plankton Research, ISSN 0142-7873, E-ISSN 1464-3774, Vol. 36, no 1, 91-103 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Since its first reported appearance in the Baltic Sea in 2007, there has been a little research on the role of the Arctic ctenophore Mertensia ovum in this ecosystem. We provide results from the first feeding experiments of M. ovum from the northern Baltic Sea. Experiments were conducted with various prey types; picocyanobacteria Synechococcus bacillaris, ciliates Mesodinium rubrum, nauplii of mixed copepod species and copepodites of Eurytemora affinis. Molecular gut content analyses were also used to measure in situ feeding of M. ovum on the picocyanobacteria. The observed clearance rates on M. rubrum (< 9.0 mL predator(-1) h(-1)), and S. bacillaris (<7.5 mL predator(-1) h(-1)) were lower than those reported for similar-sized ctenophore species feeding on similar prey. Similarly, clearance rates of M. ovum on copepodites and copepod nauplii were close to zero, implying significantly lower predation on crustacean prey compared with other ctenophores. Overall, M. ovum predation rates were relatively low with a maximum daily consumption of 0.95 mu g C ind.(-1) day(-1) (similar to 15.8% of estimated predator carbon content). In addition, we examined the vertical distribution of M. ovum in relation to that of micro- and mesozooplankton and found greater overlap with potential microplankton prey than with mesozooplankton. Taken together, these results imply that in the Baltic Sea, M. ovum feed mainly on bacterio-and microplankton, thus potentially contributing to the coupling between the microbial loop and higher consumers in the pelagic food web.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 36, no 1, 91-103 p.
bacterioplankton, ciliates, gelatinous zooplankton, mesozooplankton, predation
Biological Sciences Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-100871DOI: 10.1093/plankt/fbt101ISI: 000329906200009OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-100871DiVA: diva2:697603