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Title: Size-dependent variations on the nutritional pathway of Bathymodiolus azoricus demonstrated by a C-flux model
Authors: Martins, Irene 
Colaço, Ana 
Dando, Paul R. 
Martins, Inês 
Desbruyères, Daniel 
Sarradin, Pierre-Marie 
Marques, João Carlos 
Serrão-Santos, Ricardo 
Keywords: Bathymodiolus azoricus; Endosymbiosis; Filter-feeding; Organic matter; Carbon-flux model
Issue Date: 1-Sep-2008
Citation: Ecological Modelling. In Press, Corrected Proof:
Abstract: Bathymodiolus azoricus is a mussel from vent fields in the south-west of the Azores Triple Junction (Mid-Atlantic Ridge-MAR). Experimental evidence indicates that B. azoricus is a mixotrophic organism, which obtains energy from a dual endosymbiosis and filter-feeding. Yet the relative contribution of symbiosis and filter-feeding to B. azoricus nutrition is still unclear. To address this question, we developed and individual-based model which describes sulphide and methane uptake by endosymbionts, the energy gained through microbial oxidations, the transfer of energy from endosymbionts to B. azoricus, filter-feeding of particulate organic matter (POC) by B. azoricus and the energetic wastes of the mytilid with respiration. The model accounts for size-dependent relationships obtained from empirical data. External concentrations of H2S and CH4 correspond to estimated values for the Menez Gwen vent field, maximal and minimal values measured at MAR. From in situ observed densities of B. azoricus, productivity predictions at the individual level were upscale to the mytilid population at Menez Gwen and compared to estimated values. Predicted biomass of B. azoricus and its endosymbionts show a very high fitting level with estimated values. Results suggest that the relative contribution of filter-feeding and endosymbiosis varies with B. azoricus size, with small mytilids being strongly dependent on filter-feeding, whilst larger mussels obtain a significant portion of its energy from endosymbiosis. This is related with the variation of gill weight with total weight. Results also suggest that, an individual of a certain size can potentially regulate the relative contribution of filter-feeding and endosymbiosis according to external conditions. However, large B. azoricus exhibit a higher level of nutritional flexibility than small mytilids. The relative contribution of endosymbioisis and filter-feeding to the total energy budget of B. azoricus, as well as the mytilid particulate organic matter requirements, are assessed and discussed under several scenarios.
Rights: openAccess
Appears in Collections:FCTUC Ciências da Vida - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais

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