Heterotrophic feeding by gorgonian corals with symbiotic zooxanthella

Ribes, M.; Coma, R.; Gili, JM
Limnol. Oceanogr.
Gorgonians are one of the most characteristic groups in Caribbean coral reef communities. In this study, we measured in situ rates of grazing on pico-, nano-, and microplankton, zooxanthellae release, and respiration for the ubiquitous symbiotic gorgonian coral Plexaura flexuosa. Zooplankton capture by P. flexuosa and Pseudoplexaura porosa was quantified by examination of stomach contents. In nature, both species captured zooplankton prey ranging from 100 to 700 µm, at a grazing rate of 0.09 and 0.23 prey polyp-1 d-1, respectively. Because of the greater mean size of the prey and the higher mean prey capture per polyp, P. porosa obtained 3.4 × l0-5 mg C polyp-1 d-1 from zooplankton, about four times the grazing rate of P. flexuosa. On average, P. flexuosa captured 7.2 ± 1.9 microorganisms polyp-1 d-1 including ciliates, dinoflagellates, and diatoms, but they did not appear to graze significantly on organisms
Particle uptake, Caribbean, Gorgonian, Feeding
[ Back ]