, Volume 97, Issue 1, pp 111-125

Effects of current speed on filtration during suspension feeding in Oligometra serripinna (Echinodermata: Crinoidea)

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Suspension feeding by the crinod Oligometra serripinna was studied at Lizard Island, Australia, in 1986. Video recordings were made of 90-μm particles interacting with the filter of the crinoid in a laboratory flow chamber. A complete census of particles was possible because both the capture event and the filter area could be defined unequivocally. Also, because O. serripinna is a passive suspension feeder, a census of partcles could be made at different ambient current speeds without interference due to active pumping by the crinoid. Experiments were run at seven current speeds from 0.9 to 13.3 cm s-1. Particles approaching the filter: (1) were captured, (2) passed through the filter without triggering a capture event, (3) passed through the filter after escaping from an unsuccessful capture event, or (4) were deflected around the filter. With increasing current speed, the proportion of deflections declined and the proportion of particles passing through rose: these results could be partially explained by the progressive widening of the spaces within the filter due to distortion of filter parts by the current. The proportion of captures (normalized to approaches) was comparatively low at 0.9 cm s-1, rose to a relatively constant maximum from 1.7 to 6.4 cm s-1, and then declined progressively at 9.5 and 13.3 cm s-1. These proportions were translated into capture rates for whole crinoids by taking into consideration both the encounters with particles and the reduction of filter area by distortion of body parts at higher speeds. When plotted against current speed, capture rate peaked at 6.4 cm s-1, which was close to the mean current speed that we measured on the reef in the microhabitat of O. serripinna.

Communicated by O. Kinne, Oldendorf/Luhe