Aquascope   Facts
Cliff and rocky beach ecology

What do they eat?

It is difficult studying the composition of the food that suspension feeders eat. It is not enough to study what they catch, but we also have to deduce what part of their catch they utilize. What is known is that suspension feeders as a group utilize both living plankton organisms and dead organic material. Certain suspension feeders are generalists and utilize most types of suspended food, while others are more specialized and concentrate on a certain type or size. Many sponges and sea squirts have very effective filters and can even feed on very small organisms such as bacteria.
    Another difficulty in determining which food is the most important for suspension feeders is that they have the ability to absorb molecules directly out of the water.

Plankton 8 kB Suspension feeders eat amongst others, small microscopic plankton,...
These organic molecules are dissolved in the water and are a result of elements leaking from both dead and living organisms. It is not known which specie have this ability and to what extent. Finally, certain suspension feeders utlize photosynthesis. Boring sponges are such an example, by coexisting with single celled algae they are able to utilize photosynthesis. This type of cooperation is known as mutualism. The algae gain a protected place in the light and an adequate source of food, while the sponge gains access to certain organic molecules that the algae have produced.

<A HREF="">[Watch a dahlia anemone eat 1,1 MB]</A>
...but not even the large hermit crab is safe from an attached creature like a dahlia anemone .

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Cliffs and rocks are fantastic!
Zoning and flecked occurrence
Animals that are attached
Modular construction
Variation and change
Variations in water level
Wave exposure
Both cliffs and rocks
Freshwater and saltwater
Geography, climate and history
Organisms life cycles
Organisms effect on each other
Energy and the flow of material

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Bo Johannesson | Martin Larsvik | Lars-Ove Loo | Helena Samuelsson