Rotifers Fed on Diets of Toxic and Non-Toxic Algae
The food web plays a vital role in the survival of marine species (Sulkin et al., 2002). Some marine species require food soon after hatching (Sulkin, 2002). Studies examining feeding and survival of portunid crab (Callinectes sapidus
Rathbun) larvae have shown that the larvae cannot complete their developmental stages if left unfed for any length of time (Sulkin, 1978). The presence of toxic foods could contribute to these larvae not reaching their next developmental stage. Toxins in the food web can also be spread through secondary predation to other species (Taylor and Homer, 1994) impacting their survival (Sulkin et al., 2002).
Our purpose was to understand how toxins affect species in the planktonic food web. We used rotifers (Brachionus plicatilis) to help us understand the pathways by which toxins from toxic algal species enter the food web. Our first goal was to measure any negative effects of toxic diet treatments on rotifers.
1) To determine if rotifers would ingest toxic and non-toxic algae.
2) To determine any negative effects of toxic diets on rotifers
3) To determine how different mixed diets of toxic and non-toxic algae affect rotifer egg production