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Passive Suspension Feeding in a Sea Pen: Effects of Ambient Flow on Volume Flow Rate and Filtering Efficiency

Barbara A. Best
Biological Bulletin
Vol. 175, No. 3 (Dec., 1988), pp. 332-342
DOI: 10.2307/1541723
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1541723
Page Count: 11
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Passive Suspension Feeding in a Sea Pen: Effects of Ambient Flow on Volume Flow Rate and Filtering Efficiency
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Abstract

An integrative analysis of passive suspension feeding is developed and tested. It emphasizes the functional role of overall organism design in enhancing the hydromechanic conditions necessary for feeding. Feeding rate, defined as the total number of particles captured per time, is a function of the ambient flow speed which independently affects both the volume flow rate and the filtering efficiency. In the sea pen Ptilosarcus gurneyi, volume flow rate initially increases with increasing ambient flow speed, peaks, and then decreases as the animal deforms with the flow. Filtering efficiency, for a given filter geometry, decreases with increasing velocity. However, due to deformation of the filter with flow, higher filtering efficiencies are maintained as a result of the variable porosity filter. Feeding rate is strongly dependent on volume flow rates. The feeding rate initially increases with increasing ambient flow, but then peaks and decreases similar to the volume flow rate. Both volume flow rate and filtering efficiency depend upon the size of the organism and the relative position of the organism in the boundary layer.

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