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The Effect of Food Concentration, Body Size, and Environmental Oxygen Tension on the Growth of the Deposit-Feeding Polychaete, Capitella Species 1

Thomas L. Forbes and Glenn R. Lopez
Limnology and Oceanography
Vol. 35, No. 7 (Nov., 1990), pp. 1535-1544
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2837738
Page Count: 10
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The Effect of Food Concentration, Body Size, and Environmental Oxygen Tension on the Growth of the Deposit-Feeding Polychaete, Capitella Species 1
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Abstract

This study investigates the separate and interactive effects of food concentration, environmental oxygen level, and body size on the growth rates of Capitella species 1 individuals. Reduction of environmental $PO_2$ or food concentration decreased the volume-specific growth rates of both large $(>1.3mm^3., >1.6 mg wet wt, WW)$ and small $(<1.0 mm^3;<1.1 mg WW)$ worms. Whithin the high-food treatments a reduction in environmental $pO_2$ from $\thicksim 130 to 35 mm$ of Hg decreased the growth rates of worms by up to $36% d^-1$. Growth of large worms decreased in response in response to reductions in either $pO_2$ or food concentration. The growth rates of small worms decreased significantly only in response to reductions in environmental $pO_2$ levels. Reductions in either food concentration or environmental oxygen level alone decreased the growth of large worms to the same extent as a concomitant decrease in both. When worms were fed 100% natural sediment, a reduction in average $O_2$ tension from 38 to 21 mm of Hg decreased the growth of large worms from $2% d^-1 to -25% d^-1$. The growth rates of small individuals were unaffected $(-4 to -3% d^-1_)$. We predict that under conditions of near-bottom hypoxia or food limitation (e.g. complete pelletization of ingestible sediment) populations of Capitella sp. 1 will experience size-dependent growth with large animals (>1.6 mg WW) experiencing the greatest decline in growth rate.

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