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Are Members of the Meiofauna Food for Higher Trophic Levels?

Bruce C. Coull
Transactions of the American Microscopical Society
Vol. 109, No. 3 (Jul., 1990), pp. 233-246
Published by: Wiley on behalf of American Microscopical Society
DOI: 10.2307/3226794
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3226794
Page Count: 14
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Are Members of the Meiofauna Food for Higher Trophic Levels?
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Abstract

Meiofauna, particularly benthic copepods, are the predominant food source for a variety of predators, but appear to be most important for juvenile fishes. Predation on meiofauna changes as the predator grows, as habitat complexity changes, with tidal stage and flow, and as the meiofaunal predators are eaten by other predators. The vertical distribution of meiofauna in the sediment, the specific mobility of certain meiofauna, and differential digestion of certain taxa all lead to finding proportionately more copepods in a predator's gut than occurs in the field. Additional research is needed to determine the nutritional value of meiofauna to predators and the impact of predation on meiofaunal population dynamics.

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