Virginia Institute of Marine Science
MARINE ECOLOGY PROGRESS SERIES
Ultraplankton, heterotrophic and autotrophic plankton < 5 mu m, are the most abundant food source in the world's oceans, yet their role as a food source for macroinvertebrates is largely unexamined. We quantified in situ feeding on heterotrophic and autotrophic plankton < 10 mu m by the boreal sponge Mycale lingua using measurements that quantified sponge feeding efficiencies, pumping rates, and abundance to determine the contribution of plankton < 10 mu m to sponge carbon intake. Using dual-beam now cytometry we identified 5 populations of plankton < 10 mu m: heterotrophic bacteria, Prochlorococcus, Synechococcus-type cyanobacteria, autotrophic eucaryotes < 3 mu m, and autotrophic eucaryotes 3 to 10 mu m Mycale lingua nonselectively grazed on all types of plankton < 10 mu m. Prochlorococcus was filtered with the highest efficiency (93%), followed by Synechococcus-type cyanobacteria (89%), autotrophic eucaryotes 3 to 10 mu m (86%), heterotrophic bacteria (74%), and autotrophic eucaryotes < 3 mu m (72%). We conservatively estimate that M. lingua al naturally occurring densities can obtain 29 mg C d(-1) m(-2) feeding on plankton < 10 mu m, with 74% resulting from ultraplankton, suggesting that ultraplankton are an important overlooked component of benthic-pelagic coupling.
ultraplankton; sponges; suspension feeding; benthic-pelagic coupling; Mycale lingua; Gulf of Maine
Pile, AJ; Patterson, MR; and Witman, JD, In situ grazing on plankton <10 mu m by the boreal sponge Mycale>lingua (1996). MARINE ECOLOGY PROGRESS SERIES, 141, 95-102.