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Free Content Evidence of a Detritus Food Chain Based on Consumption of Organic Precipitates

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Two types of organic detritus particles are distinguished in samples from lakes and streams: morphous particles typically >100 μm maximum dimension that show remnants of previous cellular structure, and smaller, amorphous particles. Morphous particles are clearly plant fragments, while amorphous particles appear to be organic precipitates. In comparison to morphous detritus, amorphous detritus contains considerably less refractory organic matter, is more digestible when treated with simple digestive enzymes, and supports much better growth of a test detritivore (larval Bufo americanus). Morphous detritus is the basis of the well studied detritus–microbe–animal food chain in which microbes provide a critical trophic link. A large number of freshwater and marine animals feed specifically on amorphous detritus. These animals appear to be the primary consumers in a DOM–detritus–animal food chain that does not require a microbial intermediate. The unique character of a detritus food chain based on precipitated organic matter is of economic, environmental and theoretical interest.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 1984

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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