To process the bulk of particulate material they encounter, suspension feeders
can either reduce particle clearance rate (CR) or select between particles and increase production of pseudofeces (PF) (captured material that is not ingested).
However, the newly discovered fossils show that those predators also evolved into suspension feeders
, their grasping appendages morphing into a filtering apparatus that could be swept like a net through the water, trapping small crustaceans and other organisms as small as half a millimeter in size.
Dr Jakob Vinther, a lecturer in macroevolution at the University of Bristol, said: "The fact that large, free-swimming suspension feeders
roamed the oceans tells us a lot about the ecosystem."
In both sharks and whales, some species evolved into suspension feeders
and became gigantic, slow-moving animals that in turn fed on the smallest animals in the water."
Five different trophic groups of macrozoobenthos were distinguished in the study range: omnivores, detrivores, carnivores, herbivores, and suspension feeders
Benthic suspension feeders
are recognized as being important components of shallow marine ecosystems, where they are capable of moving large quantities of particles from the water column to the benthos (Ribes et al., 2005; Pile and Young, 2006).
are also negatively affected due to their higher sensitivity to the decomposition products of oil together with the effect of clogging of their filtration system by oil particles (Tedengren & Kautsky, 1987; Berge, 1990; Kiorboe & Mohlenberg, 1981).
But, unlike most gastropods, they are primarily suspension feeders
(Orton 1912, Declerck 1995, Collin 2001, Shumway et al.
Active suspension feeders
must pump water across their filtering structures to feed, which incurs a metabolic cost (Jorgensen, 1966; Wildish and Kristmanson, 1997).
KEY WORDS: benthic-pelagic coupling, bivalves, denitrification, eutrophication, extractive aquaculture, nutrient cycling, nutrient enrichment, nutrient trading, suspension feeders
Effects of flow speed on growth of benthic suspension feeders
Whereas mobile suspension feeders
collect particles by actively swimming through the water, sessile suspension feeders
rely on the movement of water to carry food resources to their feeding surfaces.