, Volume 542, Issue 1, pp 275-286

Some aspects of water filtering activity of filter-feeders

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Abstract

On the basis of the previous publications, our new data and the existing scientific literature, we have formulated some fundamental principles that characterize the pivotal roles of the biodiversity of filter-feeders in ecosystems. Among those roles are: (1) the role of ecological repair of water quality, (2) the role of contributing to reliability and stability of the functioning of the ecosystem, (3) the role of contributing to creation of habitat heterogeneity, (4) the role of contributing to acceleration of migration of chemical elements. It is an important feature of the biomachinery of filter-feeders that it removes from water various particles of a very broad range of sizes. Another important principle is that the amount of the organic matter filtered out of water is larger than the amount assimilated so that a significant part of the removed material serves no useful function to the organism of the filter-feeder, but serves a beneficial function to some other species and to the ecosystem as a whole. The new experiments by the author additionally demonstrated a vulnerability of the filtration activity of filter feeders (e.g., bivalves and rotifers) to some xenobiotics (tetradecyltrymethylammonium bromide, heavy metals and some others). The inhibition of the filtration activity of filter-feeders may lead to the situation previously described as that of an ecological bomb of the second type.