Rates of meiofaunal microbivory: A review

Date

1995

Authors

Montagna, Paul A.

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Vie et Milieu

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Abstract

Metazoan meiofauna eat bacteria, microalgae, protozoans, detritus, and other meiofauna. They also have the ability to absorb dissolved organic matter. The focus of this review is on meiofaunal microbivory, particularly the use of bacteria and microalgae by nematodes and harpacticoids. Most of the studies utilize radioisotope techniques. The studies fall into two categories : those done to elucidate meiofaunal feeding biology, and those done to assess the impact and importance of meiofauna in carbon cycling. Meiofauna graze on (i.e., select) small particles of microbial biomass. Meiofaunal grazing rates increase when offered increased abundances of microbial food. This is a functional response predicted by optimization models. Meiofauna also have different grazing rates on different species of food. Ontogenetic grazing rate and selection differences exist. The evidence for intrageneric differences in grazing rates is weak. Differences of feeding modes exist with different life history stages. There is much variability from site to site worldwide, but on average meiofauna graze at a rate of 0.01 h-1, or 1% of the standing stock of both heterotrophs and autotrophs per hour. Therefore, meiofauna have significant global impact on microbially mediated processes.

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Citation

Montagna, P.A. 1995. Rates of meiofaunal microbivory: A review. Vie et Milieu 45:1-10.

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