Huggins, P. D. SUNY at Stony Brook, pahuggins@ccmail.sunysb.edu
Lopez, G. R. SUNY at Stony Brook, glopez@ccmail.sunysb.edu

 
STARVATION SURVIVAL STRATEGY OF THE OPPORTUNISTIC POLYCHAETE CAPITELLA SP. I
 
Capitella sp. I colonizes organically enriched sediment and experiences rapid changes in food availability. In this study, allometric shifts which occurred during starvation were reversed once feeding was resumed with no apparent effect on reproduction. Worms starved as juveniles or as gravid females did not exhibit compensatory feeding behavior once fed, nor did they differ from normally grown worms in reproductive effort. Gravid females resorbed recently formed eggs during starvation; however, females within 2 days of egg deposition retained eggs in the coelom. Body volume increased nearly 40% per day for both starved and normally fed juveniles and 8% per day during egg development, while worms lost 3% per day during egg deposition. Egestion rate increased more quickly than body size for both starved and normally fed juvenile and gravid worms. While these results confirm that Capitella sp. I is a highly opportunistic species adapted for rapid utilization of organic enrichment, they also suggest that this species can withstand periodic starvation without detrimental reproductive effects. Rather than release long-lived planktonic larvae, Capitella sp. I may adopt a sit-and-wait strategy when food is limited and use its entire body as an energy reserve until it encounters another enriched patch in time or space.
 
Day: Wednesday, Feb. 3
Time: 02:00 - 02:15pm
Location: Hilton of Santa Fe
 
Code: SS21WE0215H