Oxygen consumption of fecal pellets of doliolids (Tunicata, Thaliacea) and planktonic copepods (Crustacea, Copepoda)

Marion Köster, Gustav-Adolf Paffenhöfer
2013 Journal of Plankton Research  
Zooplankton fecal pellets are a major component of the carbon cycle in the ocean. The goal of our study was to quantify oxygen consumption rates of fecal pellets of doliolids and copepods during initial degradation of fecal pellets in the water column. Fecal pellets were collected from gonozooids of the doliolid Dolioletta gegenbauri and adult females of the calanoid copepod Eucalanus pileatus feeding on the diatom Thalassiosira weissflogii, and the phytoflagellate Isochrysis galbana, and the
more » ... galbana, and the latter on T. weissflogii only. Oxygen consumption of fecal pellets was quantified by applying non-invasive optical sensors, keeping the pellets continuously suspended in their experimental vessels. Oxygen consumption rates of pellets of doliolids and copepods ranged between 4 and 16 and 1 and 5 nmol O 2 mL 21 h 21 , respectively. Average oxygen consumption rates were 212 pmol O 2 h 21 for a doliolid pellet (range of 80-329 pmol O 2 h 21 ), and 101 pmol O 2 h 21 for a copepod pellet (range of 50-211 pmol O 2 pellet 21 h 21 ). Variations in oxygen consumption were closely related to the type of pellets, and the abundance of pellet-associated heterotrophic prokaryotes. Average numbers of heterotrophic prokaryotes per doliolid pellet reached values of up to 3 Â 10 5 , whereas prokaryotic numbers per copepod pellet approached 8 Â 10 4 . Average cell volumes of pellet-associated heterotrophic prokaryotes were enhanced by a available online at www.plankt.oxfordjournals.org
doi:10.1093/plankt/fbt038 fatcat:ywepc3z4svfqbgaullgxasno4a