Indexed on: 01 Nov '73Published on: 01 Nov '73Published in: Marine Biology
In a study on ascidian feeding ethology, rates of filtration and digestion of the unicellular algae Monchrysis lutheri by Phallusia mammillata (Cuvier, 1815) have been determined experimentally. All results were obtained under constant conditions of temperature, salinity, pH, light, and food, using 5 individuals in 9 experiments of 24 h each. The method of Winter (1969) has been modified by using an automatic system which enables constant food concentrations (±5%) to be maintained. Controls are made by a fluorometer. The rate of filtration is deduced from the quantity of culture food added each hour; this rate varies; a well defined rhythm is not observed, but alternating maxima and minima. The values obtained for, specimens of medium size (10 to 12 cm) vary from 3856 to 4730 ml/h and per gramme organic dry weight, the average being 4380 ml. The quantity of food actually converted by each ascidian, once it has passed the alimentary canal, is calculated from the amount of proteins present in food and faeces. Digestion rate varies from 4.65 to 5.75 mg of albumin equivalent/24 h and per gramme organic dry weight (mean 5.30 mg). The percentage food conversion (filtrated amount=100%) is high: 86 to 93%, with a mean of 90%.