Absorption efficiencies and biochemical fractionation of assimilated compounds in the cold water appendicularian Oikopleura vanhoeffeni

Bochdansky, Alexander B., Don Deibel, Richard B. Rivkin

Limnol. Oceanogr., 44(2), 1999, 415-424 | DOI: 10.4319/lo.1999.44.2.0415

ABSTRACT: Using 68Ge:14C dual-labeling, we investigated the absorption efficiency of diatom carbon for the cold water appendicularian Oikopleura vanhoeffeni. The absorption efficiency of bulk carbon (mean = 67%) was not influenced by body size or ingestion rate. For the first time for a pelagic tunicate, food and feces were fractionated into their major biochemical constituents (i.e., low-molecular-weight compounds, lipid, protein, and polysaccharide), allowing calculation of absorption efficiencies for each fraction. Low-molecular-weight compounds and proteins were pref-erentially absorbed over lipids and polysaccharides. However, predicted C: N ratios of the fecal pellets of O. vanhoeffeni were in the lower range of C: N ratios reported for zooplankton feces. The results are relevant for modeling biogeochemical cycles because pelagic tunicates contribute greatly to vertical particulate organic carbon flux.

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