What fraction of the organic carbon in sacoglossans is obtained from photosynthesis by kleptoplastids An investigation using the natural abundance of stable carbon isotopes.

J.A. Raven, Diana Walker, K.R. Jensen, L.L. Handley, C.M. Scrimgeour, S.G. Mcinroy

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    37 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Any sacoglossans (opisthobranch gastropods) have the potential for carbon acquisition from photosynthesis by plastids sequestered from their macroalgal food as well as by ingestion, digestion and assimilation of the organic carbon derived from the alga. A new method for obtaining a minimum estimate of the fraction of sacoglossan carbon supplied from photosynthesis by kleptoplastids is suggested, based on the mass balance of stable carbon isotopes at the natural abundance level. The method involves comparison of C-13/C-12 ratios in sacoglossans with those of the algae on which they are found. Differences in ratios between alga and sacoglossan are used to give a minimum estimate of carbon acquisition by kleptoplasty, granted assumptions about the range of C-13/C-12 fractionation values which can occur for marine photolithotrophs. The new method is applied to several green (ulvophycean) alga-sacoglossan associations from Rottnest Island, Western Australia, and the values compared with those obtained previously by other means. The method suggests values of up to 0.6 of the total carbon input to the sacoglossans from photosynthesis by their kleptoplastids. To improve the estimates of the minimum role of kleptoplastidy in the carbon nutrition of sacoglossans, further information is needed: (1) on the fidelity of a given sacoglossan to a given algal individual (or species), (2) on the C-13/C-12 ratio of the part of the alga ingested by the sacoglossan, and (3) on the allocation of dietary organic carbon and of kleptoplastidic photosynthate to carbon lost in respiration, mucopolysaccharide production and gametes (and hence not sampled with the animal).
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)537-545
    JournalMarine Biology
    Volume138
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2001

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