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Polychaeta source details

Fauchald, K.; Jumars, P. A. (1979). The diet of worms: a study of polychaete feeding guilds. Oceanography and Marine Biology, An Annual Review. 17: 193-284.
Fauchald, K.; Jumars, P. A.
The diet of worms: a study of polychaete feeding guilds
Oceanography and Marine Biology, An Annual Review
17: 193-284
World Polychaeta Database (WPolyDb). A major 2015 update by Jumars, Dorgan & Lindsay is at: Diet of Worms Emended

Polychaetes are among the most frequent and abundant marine metazoans in benthic environments. In bathyal and abyssal areas (Hessler & Jumars, 1974), in shelf depths on open coasts (Barnard & Hartman, 1959; Boesch, 1972), in estuaries (Boesch, 1971; Orth, 1973), in man-made harbours (Reish, 1959), and on coral reefs (Kohn & Lloyd, 1973), polychaetes are also among the most 'species-rich' groups. They often comprise over one third the number of macrobenthic species and may be even more dominant in numbers of specimens (Knox, 1977). Polychaetes may be numerically less important on hard substrata, and bivalves and various peracarid crustaceans may co-dominate in soft sediments, but of all metazoans only the nematodes are more ubiquitous. Polychaetes must thus be included in calculations of community trophic structure and in community energy budgets (e.g. Banse, Nichols & May, 1971 ; Pamatmat, 1977). Despite their obvious importance the literature on ecological rôles of polychaetes remains largely anecdotal.

This review attempts to summarize current information about the feeding biology of these animals. We have organized the information into a limited number of patterns, using the guild concept to define our patterns. The concept of a guild (in the sense of a functional grouping) has proved to be a valuable tool both in generalizations and for continuing investigations in various animal and plant taxa (e.g. Grime, 1974; Karr & James, 1975). Provisional attempts at delineating feeding guilds among benthic polychaetes (Jumars & Fauchald, 1977) allowed generalizations to be drawn and revealed several unexpected trends. There are other useful ways to form functional groups of polychaetes (e.g. by reproductive behaviours or degrees of opportunism), but the morphology and behaviour of feeding appears so important that we suspect most alternative functional groups will show considerable overlap with the one developed here.

The paper consists of two sections. In the first we have summarized current information about food and feeding habits within each polychaete family. The famines are arranged in alphabetic order, and in the summary for each family we have included predictions on the most likely feeding habits where we found this possible or appropriate. The predictions are in the form of hypotheses capable of being tested (or can be so treated) and our intent was to create a suitable framework for continued work on the topic. We are now, with some of our associates, in the process of testing some of the predictions; we invite our colleagues to join us in this endeavour.

The second section of the paper is an interpretation of the data presented in the first section. We formally define feeding guilds for all polychaetes based on ajoint consideration of food, feeding habits and locomotory patterns. We also draw some synecological conclusions about these patterns. We were particularly interested in understanding the sympatric occurrence in the deep sea of several congeners with extremely limited morphological differentiation. This problem started us thinking along these lines; we believe we have at least a partial solution to our problem.

Eco-ethology of nutrition
Trophic ecology, Trophic structure, Trophic fluxes, Carbon fluxes, Trophic webs
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2016-01-08 00:56:05Z


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