Feeding rates of common Antarctic gammarid amphipods on ecologically important sympatric macroalgae

Academic Article


  • Single species feeding trials employing both fresh algal tissues and alginate food pellets containing dried finely ground algal tissues were conducted to examine the relative palatability of sympatric Antarctic macroalgae (three brown and five red macroalgal species) to three common herbivorous gammarid amphipods (Prostebbingia gracilis Chevreux, Gondogeneia antarctica (Chevreux) Thurston, and Metaleptamphopus pectinatus Chevreux). In fresh algal tissue bioassays, both the amphipods P. gracilis and G. antarctica consumed significantly greater amounts of the red alga Palmaria decipiens over all other seven species of macroalgae. The amphipod M. pectinatus failed to consume measurable quantities of fresh thalli of any macroalgae and therefore is likely to feed on other resources. In food pellet bioassays, the consumption rates of amphipods fed with eight different species of macroalgae were compared with consumption rates on a highly palatable control green alga. Alginate pellets containing finely ground tissues of P. decipiens were consistently the most palatable of any of the macroalgae to P. gracilis and G. antarctica, while pellets containing the brown algae Desmarestia menziesii, D. anceps and the red alga Plocamium cartilagineum were not consumed by any of the three amphipod species. Regression analysis indicated that feeding rates of the amphipods P. gracilis and G. antarctica on alginate food pellets were not significantly correlated with known species-specific parameters of macroalgal nutritional quality (%N, %C, C:N ratio, soluble protein, soluble carbohydrate, and lipid). Therefore, differences in amphipod macroalgal palatability are most likely related to other factors including physical and/or chemical deterrents. © 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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    Author List

  • Huang YM; McClintock JB; Amsler CD; Peters KJ; Baker BJ
  • Start Page

  • 55
  • End Page

  • 65
  • Volume

  • 329
  • Issue

  • 1