Journal of Plankton Research vol:29 issue:suppl 1 pages:I135-I147
Trophic interactions among micro- and mesozooplankton were investigated in the Schelde estuary. Field populations of plankton were separated by selective filtrations (30 and 200 µm). Predation was measured by comparing ciliate and rotifer abundance in treatments with and without potential predators (cladocerans, cyclopids, the calanoid Eurytemora affinis and rotifers). To deal with variability in the data, a cross-calculation method using all replicates separately is proposed. In order to look for general trends in predation behaviour, the predation rates were ranked and analysed in relation to ranked characteristics of the potential prey: numerical abundance, growth rate, individual and population biomass. Cyclopids fed selectively on the ciliates having the highest population biomass and growth rates among the ciliate population. Cyclopids selected the least abundant rotifers. No trends were detected for cladocerans and E. affinis. As predators, rotifers selected the least abundant ciliates in spring. Although no general selectivity patterns for the predators studied can be drawn yet, the potential of the method employed is illustrated and discussed. Its main advantage is the possibility to extend the obtained data set with data from new experiments as well as with extant data on selectivity of the predators.