Marine Biology

, Volume 115, Issue 3, pp 445–452 | Cite as

Flow rate and particle concentration within the house of the pelagic tunicate Oikopleura vanhoeffeni

  • C. C. Morris
  • D. Deibel


The food-concentrating filter within the house of Oikopleura vanhoeffeni Lohmann consists of three layers, upper and lower fine-mesh layers and an intermediate coarse-mesh layer. The filter is a natural analogue of man-made tangential, or cross-flow, filters that are used to concentrate fine particulate and colloidal material by the exclusion of water. Flow analysis using video microscopy of O. vanhoeffeni, collected in 1989 and 1990 at Logy Bay, insular Newfoundland, indicates concentration of particles of 74 to 1089 times that of ambient seawater (\(\bar x \pm {\text{SE}} = 328 \pm 48,n = 23\),n=23), for individuals 1.8 to 5.4 mm long. The smallest individuals had the highest concentration factors. Flow through the house is predominately affected by viscous forces and values of Reynolds numbers are ≈1. Flow rates through the house of O. vanhoeffeni indicate a maximum filtration capacity of ca. 1.4 to 26 liters d-1 and clearance rates (assuming ca. 50% of the time is spent not actively pumping) of 0.7 to 13 liters d-1, depending on body size. The estimated thickness of the boundary layer around individual fibers of the food-concentrating filter is 0.08 μm, which is less than the pore width. The estimated concentration factors suggest that colloidal and fine particulate material may aggregate into larger particles within the food-concentrating filter and food tube during feeding.


Boundary Layer Reynolds Number Clearance Rate Concentration Factor Particulate Material 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. C. Morris
    • 1
    • 2
  • D. Deibel
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Ocean Sciences CentreMemorial University of NewfoundlandSt John'sCanada
  2. 2.Department of BiologyMemorial University of NewfoundlandSt. John'sCanada

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