Body Size and Food Size in Freshwater Zooplankton
We used double-label liquid scintillation techniques to measure the efficiencies with which eight different-sized zooplankton species ingested four cell types relative to a standard cell type (Chlamydomonas). Efficiency ratios (ERs: clearance rate on cell type X div clearance rate on Chlamydomonas) on the three ultraplankton (<5 μ m in diameter) cells (a coccoid bacterium and the algae Synechococcus and Nannochloris) varied greatly among zooplankton species but were not correlated with zooplankton body length. Variation in ERs on a much larger (17 × 14 μ m) algal cell (Cryptomonas) was only partly explained by zooplankton body length. The eight zooplankton species were classified into three functional groups: (i) species having moderate to high ERs on all ultraplankton (0.4 < ER < 1.6) and ERs on Cryptomonas proportional to their body lengths (Conochilus, Diaphanosoma, and probably Keratella cochlearis and Ceriodaphnia); (ii) species having extremely low ERs on bacteria (mean ER < 0.05), higher but still low ERs on ultraphytoplankton (ER generally < 0.4), and ERs on Cryptomonas proportional to their body lengths (Bosmina, Diaptomus copepodites and adults); (iii) species having extremely low ERs on all ultraplankton (mean ER < 0.05) and ERs on Cryptomonas much higher than expected given their body lengths (Keratella crassa, Polyarthra, and Diaptomus nauplii). These functional groups follow neither taxonomic nor body-length groupings. We conclude that zooplankton body length may influence the maximal particle size a species can ingest but has little influence on the ingestion of smaller particles. Two frequently used models relating zooplankton body size and food size are unrealistic.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Science
- Pub Date:
- October 1984