, Volume 72, Issue 3, pp 211-218

Ingestion and incorporation of coral-mucus detritus by reef zooplankton

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Abstract

The copepod Acartia tonsa and the reef mysid Mysidium integrum ingest stained coral mucus. Ingestion rates determined with radioisotope-labeled mucus ranged from 4 to 81% body carbon · 24 h-1 for the copepods and I to 70% body carbon · 24 h-1 for the mysids. Incorporation was measured by comparing the organic composition of fecal material and by the incorporation of isotope-labeled mucus. A. tonsa incorporated 47% of ingested ash-free material, 68% of carbon and 36% of nitrogen. M. integrum incorporated 44% of ingested ash-free matter, 57% of carbon and 55% of nitrogen. Incorporation estimates using 14C-labeled mucus were 65% and 39% for incorporation by A. tonsa and M. integrum respectively. A. tonsa and M. integrum incorporated both the mucus substrate and the epiphytic bacteria of the mucus-detritus.

Communicated by J. M. Lawrence, Tampa