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Passive flow through an unstalked intertidal ascidian: Orientation and morphology enhance suspension feeding in Pyura stolonifera

Knott, N.A., Davis, A.R. and Buttemer, W. A. 2004, Passive flow through an unstalked intertidal ascidian: Orientation and morphology enhance suspension feeding in Pyura stolonifera, Biological bulletin, vol. 207, no. 3, pp. 217-224.

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Title Passive flow through an unstalked intertidal ascidian: Orientation and morphology enhance suspension feeding in Pyura stolonifera
Author(s) Knott, N.A.
Davis, A.R.
Buttemer, W. A.
Journal name Biological bulletin
Volume number 207
Issue number 3
Start page 217
End page 224
Publisher Marine Biological Laboratory
Place of publication Woods Hole, Mass.
Publication date 2004-12
ISSN 0006-3185
1939-8697
Summary Passive flow is believed to increase the gains and reduce the costs of active suspension feeding. We used a mixture of field and laboratory experiments to evaluate whether the unstalked intertidal ascidian Pyura stolonifera exploits passive flow. We predicted that its orientation to prevailing currents and the arrangement of its siphons would induce passive flow due to dynamic pressure at the inhalant siphon, as well as by the Bernoulli effect or viscous entrainment associated with different fluid velocities at each siphon, or by both mechanisms. The orientation of P. stolonifera at several locations along the Sydney-Illawarra coast (Australia) covering a wide range of wave exposures was nonrandom and revealed that the ascidians were con- sistently oriented with their inhalant siphons directed into the waves or backwash. Flume experiments using wax mod- els demonstrated that the arrangement of the siphons could induce passive flow and that passive flow was greatest when the inhalant siphon was oriented into the flow. Field exper- iments using transplanted animals confirmed that such an orientation resulted in ascidians gaining food at greater rates, as measured by fecal production, than when oriented perpendicular to the wave direction. We conclude that P. stolonifera enhances suspension feeding by inducing pas- sive flow and is, therefore, a facultatively active suspension feeder. Furthermore, we argue that it is likely that many other active suspension feeders utilize passive flow and, therefore, measurements of their clearance rates should be made under appropriate conditions of flow to gain ecolog- ically relevant results.
Language eng
Field of Research 060299 Ecology not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2004, Marine Biological Laboratory
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30020896

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