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Title: High mucous-mesh production by the ascidian Herdmania momus
Suspension feeders, including ascidians (Phylum Chordata, Class Ascidiacea), experience a dilute prey field composed of extremely small particles. The filtration apparatus of ascidians is based on a mucous-mesh that is continuously secreted and ingested. The rate and metabolic cost of this mesh secretion has not been quantified to date. We used video boroscopy to quantify the mucous-mesh production rate of the solitary ascidian Herdmania momus under different food and temperature treatments. H. momus individuals with an average (±95% CI) biomass of 30.7 ± 1.1 mg and a branchial sac area of 10.3 ± 1.2 cm 2 produced an average of 276 ± 33.5 cm 2 of mucous-mesh h -1 , corresponding to a median turnover rate of 625 ± 82 mesh d -1 . Since the mean mesh mass was 2.44 ± 0.58 mg, this production rate corresponds to roughly 50 ± 8 times the individual’s biomass per day. Food concentration had no detectable effect on mesh production rate, whereas a temperature difference of ~9°C (20 vs. 29°C) moderately increased mesh production by 30-50%. The current study reveals that the feeding process of H. momus involves a high expenditure on mucous-mesh synthesis that, combined with low food availability, may limit more » its growth in oligotrophic waters and under changing climate regimes. « less
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Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Marine Ecology Progress Series
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
223 to 228
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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