Digestion Theory Applied to Deposit Feeding

  • Peter A. Jumars
  • Deborah L. Penry
Part of the Lecture Notes on Coastal and Estuarine Studies book series (COASTAL, volume 31)


As many of the contributions to this volume show, consideration of deposit feeding leads quickly to questions of digestion. There are spectacular variations in feeding rate both among species (Cammen, 1980) and within individuals (Taghon and Jumars, 1984), respectively demanding digestive diversity and flexibility. Intuitively, it seems likely that organisms eating sand and mud might more often be limited by processing ability and food quality — i.e., by the rate at which digestive products can be formed — than by acquisition rate. When one looks for theoretical guidance to design measurements and experiments regarding this interspecific diversity and intraspecific flexibility, comparatively little is available (Milton, 1981; Sibly, 1981; Taghon, 1981; Troyer, 1984). Theories of how an organism should forage and what it should ingest are abundant, but comparably general optimization approaches to predict how it ought to digest what it captures are not. The need is clear for animals in general and for deposit feeders in particular: Variations in fitness can result from variations in digestion just as readily as they can from differences in acquisition.


Batch Reactor Idle Period Deposit Feeder Throughput Time Specific Dynamic Action 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter A. Jumars
    • 1
  • Deborah L. Penry
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Oceanography, WB-10University of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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