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The effect of Fucus vesiculosus on the grazing of harpacticoid copepods on diatom biofilms
De Troch, M.; Chepurnov, V.A.; Vincx, M.; Ólafsson, E. (2008). The effect of Fucus vesiculosus on the grazing of harpacticoid copepods on diatom biofilms. J. Sea Res. 60(3): 139-143.
In: Journal of Sea Research. Elsevier/Netherlands Institute for Sea Research: Amsterdam; Den Burg. ISSN 1385-1101; e-ISSN 1873-1414, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 
    VLIZ: Open Repository 140417 [ OMA ]

    Algae > Diatoms
    Bacillariophyceae [WoRMS]; Fucus vesiculosus Linnaeus, 1753 [WoRMS]; Fucus vesiculosus Linnaeus, 1753 [WoRMS]; Harpacticoida [WoRMS]
Author keywords
    Harpacticoida; Diatoms; Fucus vesiculosus

Authors  Top 
  • De Troch, M., more
  • Chepurnov, V.A., more
  • Vincx, M., more
  • Ólafsson, E.

    The effect of Fucus vesiculosus on the functional traits of three harpacticoid copepod species (Tigriopus brevicornis, Paramphiascella fulvofasciata and Microarthridion littorale) was studied. These copepods are likely to be important grazers on biofilms consisting mainly of diatoms. Several microcosms were created using diatom cultures (Navicula phyllepta and Seminavis robusta) and vegetative thalli of Fucus, with the biofilm associated, collected from the field. The diatoms were enriched in the stable carbon 13C to facilitate tracing in the harpacticoids. The biofilm on the Fucus was labeled through impregnation of the Fucus leaves in 13C enriched seawater.

    In all treatments a measurable uptake of diatoms was found for the three copepod species. All copepods showed a low uptake of labeled material when only Fucus thalli were available. The grazing on the benthic diatoms was negatively affected by the presence of the Fucus thalli in the case of P. fulvofasciata. One species, T. brevicornis, grazed efficiently both on sedimentary and epiphytic biofilms.

    We hereby proved experimentally that benthic harpacticoid copepods are able to switch their food uptake under different habitat/food circumstances. This variety of food uptake is an illustration of the so-called ‘niche complementarity effect’ that lies at the basis of diverse communities.

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