Feeding selectivity of bivalve larvae on natural plankton assemblages in the Western English Channel

Lindeque, PK, Dimond, A, Harmer, RA, Parry, HE, Pemberton, KL and Fileman, ES 2015 Feeding selectivity of bivalve larvae on natural plankton assemblages in the Western English Channel. Marine Biology, 162 (2). 291-308. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00227-014-2580-x

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00227-014-2580-x


Meroplankton, including bivalve larvae, are an important and yet understudied component of coastal marine food webs. Understanding the baseline of meroplankton ecology is imperative to establish and predict their sensitivity to local and global marine stressors. Over an annual cycle (October 2009–September 2010), bivalve larvae were collected from the Western Channel Observatory time series station L4 (50°15.00′N, 4°13.02′W). The morphologically similar larvae were identified by analysis of the 18S nuclear small subunit ribosomal RNA gene, and a series of incubation experiments were conducted to determine larval ingestion rates on natural plankton assemblages. Complementary gut content analysis was performed using a PCR-based method for detecting prey DNA both from field-collected larvae and those from the feeding experiments. Molecular identification of bivalve larvae showed the community composition to change over the course of the sampling period with domination by Phaxas in winter and higher diversity in autumn. The larvae selected for nanoeukaryotes (2–20 µm) including coccolithophores (<20 µm) which together comprised >75 % of the bivalve larvae diet. Additionally, a small percentage of carbon ingested originated from heterotrophic ciliates (<30 µm). The molecular analysis of bivalve larvae gut content provided increased resolution of identification of prey consumed and demonstrated that the composition of prey consumed established through bottle incubations conferred with that established from in situ larvae. Despite changes in bivalve larvae community structure, clearance rates of each prey type did not change significantly over the course of the experiment, suggesting different bivalve larvae species may consume similar prey.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Subjects: Ecology and Environment
Marine Sciences
Divisions: Plymouth Marine Laboratory > National Capability categories > Western Channel Observatory
Plymouth Marine Laboratory > Science Areas > Marine Ecology and Biodiversity
Depositing User: Elaine Fileman
Date made live: 28 Jan 2016 11:36
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2018 11:16
URI: https://plymsea.ac.uk/id/eprint/6748

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