Marine Biology

, Volume 52, Issue 1, pp 33–43

Ingestion of natural particulate organic matter and subsequent assimilation, respiration and growth by tropical lagoon zooplankton

  • R. P. Gerber
  • M. B. Gerber

DOI: 10.1007/BF00386855

Cite this article as:
Gerber, R.P. & Gerber, M.B. Mar. Biol. (1979) 52: 33. doi:10.1007/BF00386855


Rates of ingestion of natural particulate organic matter and subsequent assimilation and respiration by zooplankton at Enewetak Atoll lagoon (Marshall Islands) were measured using a flow-through system. Maximum daily ingestion rates of carbon and nitrogen, expressed as a percentage of the body content, were 79 and 37%, respectively, for the large copepod Undinula vulgaris; 112 and 65%, respectively, for a group of mixed small copepods; and 61 and 34%, respectively, for the pteropod Creseis acicula. Daily metabolic carbon losses, expressed as above, were 63% for U. vulgaris, 88% for the small copepods, and 50% for C. acicula. Assimilation efficiences of carbon and nitrogen ranged from about 86 to 91%. The above rates are generally higher than in previous reports for similar sized zooplankton in temperate waters, while the daily growth increments, expressed as a percentage of the body carbon content (4.8% for U. vulgaris, 8.6% for the small copepods, and 2.6% for C. acicula), are comparable. It appears that the high rates of ingestion and assimilation of organic matter are compensated by high metabolic losses. These results indicate that at least for carbon, tropical zooplankton may have low growth efficiencies ranging from 4 to 9%.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. P. Gerber
    • 1
    • 2
  • M. B. Gerber
    • 1
  1. 1.Graduate School of OceanographyUniversity of Rhode IslandKingstonUSA
  2. 2.Marine Research LaboratoryBowdoin CollegeBrunswickUSA

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