SS3.15 Physical Forcing and Pelagic-Benthic Interactions in Aquatic Systems
Date: Thursday, June 13, 2002
Time: 11:30:00 AM
Location: Oak Bay
 
Wong, W, H, State University of New York at Stony Brook , Stony Brook NY, USA, whwong@life.bio.sunysb.edu
LevintonJS, State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook NY, USA, levinton@life.bio.sunysb.edu
Twining, B, S, State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook NY, USA, btwining@ic.sunysb.edu
 
THE BENTHIC-ZOOPLANKTON LOOP: SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTION BY ZOOPLANKTON TO ENERGY REQUIREMENTS OF BIVALVES
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Filter-feeding bivalve mollusc populations exert keystone effects on the plankton of the coastal oceans by filtering large volumes of water, severely depleting the phytoplankton, and by selectively feeding and thus altering the species composition of the phytoplankton. The degree of assimilation of zooplankton by bivalves is very poorly understood, although some strong evidence supports the reduction of microzooplankton, following the introduction of the zebra mussel, Dreissena polymorpha into the Hudson River and other water bodies. We homogeneously labeled individuals of two rotifer species with 14C and fed them to zebra mussels. Absorption of carbon ranged from 40-50 percent. Using standard relationships between carbon content and energetic content we estimated energy budgets for zebra mussels in the Hudson River. Rotifer abundances before the invasion could support a positive scope for growth. Even after the invasion, which resulted in a strong microzooplankton decline, rotifers could still support ca. 16-23% of zebra mussels resting metabolic requirement. This result should extend to estuarine and coastal marine bivalves, which suggests a strong trophic connection that has not been quantified before.