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Effect of short-term hypoxia on the feeding activity of abundant nematode genera from an intertidal mudflat

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The effect of short-term hypoxia (6 days) on the feeding activity of abundant nematode genera was investigated by means of a tracer experiment. Nematodes were sampled from the Paulina intertidal flat in the Westerschelde estuary (south-west Netherlands) and incubated with 13C pre-labelled diatoms at the sediment-water interface in oxic and hypoxic treatments. In general, specific uptake and uptake of carbon per unit of nematode carbon were low in all studied genera, which indicated that the added diatoms represented a limited food source for the investigated nematode genera. Results from such a low uptake are difficult to interpret; however, there was no significant decrease in feeding activity of all dominant nematodes in the hypoxic treatments. The low carbon uptake might be related to low access of nematodes and their low feeding preference to the added diatoms in the experimental cores.

Affiliations: 1: 1Marine Biology Research Group, Biology Department, Ghent University, Krijgslaan 281, S8, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium ; 2: 2Iranian National Institute for Oceanography and Atmospheric Science (INIOAS), 9 Etemadzadeh Avenue, West Fatemi Street, Tehran, Iran ; 3: 3Marine Zoology, BreMarE Bremen Marine Ecology, University of Bremen, P.O. Box 330440, D-28334 Bremen, Germany

*Corresponding author, e-mail:
**Present address: Operational Directorate Natural Environment (OD Nature), Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS), Gulledelle 100, B-1200 Brussels, Belgium

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