Gut Evacuation and Filling Rates in the Rock-Boring Sea Urchin, Echinometra Mathaei
The rock-boring sea urchin, Echinometra mathaei, has colonized extensive areas of dead coral on the reefs of Kuwait in the northwestern Arabian Gulf. In feeding it removes a large proportion of coral (CaCO3) in addition to the algae growing on the dead coral. A preliminary study utilized two methods to assess the rate at which coral and algae are being ingested by the urchin. One measured the rate of gut emptying of animals removed from the coral, and the other measured the rate of gut filling of starved animals placed on their natural feeding substrate. On the basis of gut filling, the rate of erosion was 1.4 g CaCO3/urchin/day, and on the basis of emptying 0.9 g CaCO3/urchin/day. These were almost one order of magnitude higher than previous estimates.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1987-09-01
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