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Marine Ecology-Progress Series

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Abstract/ Summary

We measured carbon, nitrogen, protein, bacterial and microalgal abundance, and mineral-specific surface area in sediments from the feeding zone of undisturbed Saccoglossus kowalewskyi, as well as in their fresh egesta. Comparison of results using surficial material 1 mm) and the top 3 mm of sediments indicated ingestion of surficial material by the enteropneusts. Assuming the surficial sediment as a food source results in apparent absorption efficiencies of 15% for TOC, 35% for TON, 60% for protein and 86% for microalgae. The C:N ratio of the apparently absorbed material was 4.2, consistent with an amino acid-rich diet. Protein- nitrogen uptake, however, accounted for only about 28% of total nitrogen absorption, indicating a dominant use of non-protein nitrogen . Bacterial and microalgal contributions to dietary nitrogen uptake were no more than 3% and 4% respectively. Active worms maintain 2 foraging areas with an average total foraging volume of 0.9 cm3 and a volume ingestion rate of 0.06 to 0.12 cm3 ind.-1 h-1. If the preferred feeding zone of these enteropneusts is the nitrogen -enriched surficial layer, we estimate that their feeding activities will deplete the available food resources every 8 to 16 h and they may rely on biological and tidal redistribution of surface material.

Citation/Publisher Attribution

Carey DA, Mayer LM. Nutrient Uptake by a Deposit-Feeding Enteropneust: Nitrogenous Sources. Marine Ecology-Progress Series. 1990;63(1): 79-84.

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Copyright 1990 Inter-Research.




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