Goldfinch, A. C.. Louisiana State University, acgoldfinch@worldnet.att.net
Carman, K. C.. Louisiana State University, zocarm@lsuvm.sncc.lsu.edu

 
CHIRONOMID GRAZING ON BENTHIC ALGAE IN A LOUISIANA SALT MARSH
 
Chironomid larvae (Diptera: Chironomidae) are a common component of benthic salt marsh communities, but very little is known about their ecological significance to this environment. In the present study, we examined spatial and temporal variation in chironomid abundance, with particular emphasis on their trophic relationship with benthic microalgae (BMA). Abundance and microalgal grazing by chironomids and other meiofauna were determined seasonally near the marsh edge, and several meters away, on the mud flat. 14C feeding studies were used for quantitative estimates of grazing on BMA, and HPLC analysis of gut pigments was used for qualitative characterization of ingested BMA. Diatoms comprised the bulk of BMA ingested by these animals. Chironomid grazing had a relatively small impact on total microalgal biomass (0.02%-8%). Total grazing pressure was also calculated relative to other meiofaunal taxa. A single species, Tanypus clavatus, composes 98% of the chironomid population present in this system.
 
Day: Friday, Feb. 5
Time: 11:45 - 12:00pm
Location: Eldorado Hotel
 
Code: SS46FR1145E