, Volume 586, Issue 1, pp 403–410 | Cite as

Ecological balance between ciliate plankton and its prey candidates, pico- and nanoplankton, in the East China Sea

Primary Research Paper


Standing stocks of ciliate plankton and its prey candidates, both picoplankton and nanoplankton, were investigated in spring in the East China Sea. The former was 1.36 × 105–1.54 × 108 μm3 l−1 in biovolume, and the latter was 5.33 × 106–1.11 × 108 μm3 l−1. The biovolume ratio of ciliate plankton to prey candidates ranged from 1.31 × 10−2 to 2.00 × 100; it was larger in abundant prey conditions and smaller in sparse preys. Making some plausible assumptions about physiological activity on both organisms, every ratio meet the quantitative restriction that prey production should be equal to or larger than ciliate consumption. However, prey candidates would be so sparsely distributed that ciliate plankton could not capture sufficient prey organisms in its random filter-feeding manner. Even though planktonic ciliates must have some extraordinary mechanisms to capture preys efficiently, this quantitative imbalance might be one of the reasons for decreasing ciliate/prey ratio in sparse prey conditions.


Planktonic ciliates Nanoplankton Picoplankton East China Sea 



We acknowledge the captain, the officers and crew of the T/S Kakuyo-maru. We are grateful to Drs. J. Ishizaka and T. Matsuno for their help in collecting samples. This study is partly supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research of Nagasaki University to T.S.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of FisheriesNagasaki UniversityNagasakiJapan

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