Hopkins Marine Station Student Paper

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(full paper is archived in the Miller Library)

Title: Observations on the feeeding of Ophelia assimilis (Tebble) a sand-eating polychaete
Student Author(s): Billingsley, Anne
Faculty Advisor(s): Abbott, Isabella
Pages: 12
Location: Final Papers Biology 175H
Date: June 1976
Keywords: polychaeta
Abstract: 1. Ophelia assimilis is a sand-feeder deriving a large part of its nutritional requirements from organic material adsorbed to sand grains, and seemingly little else. 2. The worms select for particle size of sand grains when feeding and appear to distinguish and select sand grains containing adsorbed organic material. 3. O. assimilis lives in relatively clean sand with low organic carbon levels. 4. The food substrate contains proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids, with protein contituting the bulk of the organic material, and probably providing the most important nutritional contribution. 5. Transit time for normal substrate is about 46 minutes, with rate determinations varying as nutritional constitution of the the substrate is varied. 6. The worms do not feed readily on a substrate lacking absorbed nutrients, implying substrate selectivity. 7. Defecation is observed only during feeding.