First evidence for zooplankton feeding sustaining key physiological processes in a scleractinian cold-water coral
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AuthorsNaumann, M.S. (Malik S.); Orejas, C. (Covadonga); Wild, C. (Christian); Ferrier-Pagès, C. (Christine)
organic matter release
Scleractinian cold-water corals (CWC) represent key taxa controlling deep-sea reef ecosystem functioning by providing structurally complex habitats to a high associated biodiversity, and by fuelling biogeochemical cycles via the release of organic matter. Nevertheless, our current knowledge on basic CWC properties, such as feeding ecology and key physiological processes (i.e. respiration, calcification and organic matter release), is still very limited. Here, we show evidence for the trophic significance of zooplankton, essentially sustaining levels of the investigated key physiological processes in the cosmopolitan CWC Desmophyllum dianthus (Esper 1794). Our results from laboratory studies reveal that withdrawal (for up to 3 weeks) of zooplankton food (i.e. Artemia salina) caused a significant decline in respiration (51%) and calcification (69%) rates compared with zooplankton-fed specimens. Likewise, organic matter release, in terms of total organic carbon (TOC), decreased significantly ...