All you can eat: The functional response of the cold-water coral desmophyllum dianthus feeding on krill and copepods

JUAN HOFER , Humberto E. González, Jürgen Laudien, Gertraud M. Schmidt, Verena Häussermann, Claudio Richter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

The feeding behavior of the cosmopolitan cold-water coral (CWC) Desmophyllum dianthus (Cnidaria: Scleractinia) is still poorly known. Its usual deep distribution restricts direct observations, and manipulative experiments are so far limited to prey that do not occur in CWC natural habitat. During a series of replicated incubations, we assessed the functional response of this coral feeding on a medium-sized copepod (Calanoides patagoniensis) and a large euphausiid (Euphausia vallentini). Corals showed a Type I functional response, where feeding rate increased linearly with prey abundance, as predicted for a tentaculate passive suspension feeder. No significant differences in feeding were found between prey items, and corals were able to attain a maximum feeding rate of 10.99 mg C h-1, which represents an ingestion of the 11.4% of the coral carbon biomass per hour. These findings suggest that D. dianthus is a generalist zooplankton predator capable of exploiting dense aggregations of zooplankton over a wide prey size-range.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere5872
JournalPeerJ
Volume2018
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2018

Keywords

  • Calanoides patagoniensis
  • Cold-water coral
  • Coral feeding
  • Desmophyllum dianthus
  • Euphausia vallentini
  • Functional response

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