|Title||How to leave or stay on the substratum when you can't swim? Evidence of the role of mucus thread secretion by postlarvae of Pectinaria koreni (Malmgren) in still water and flume experiments|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2006|
|Authors||Olivier, F, Retiere, C|
Through an experimental approach we investigate the role of mucus secretion in postlarvae of Pectinaria koreni (tubicolous polychaete) on their ability to drift within the benthic boundary layer or to stay at the water-substratum interface. Fall velocity measurements were conducted with either living or dead postlarvae which were allowed to sink into a 2 m long Plexiglas cylindrical chamber. Five groups of increasing size-classes were tested ranging from the very first benthic stage (1 mm < Tube(length) < 2 mm: membranous tube present accounting for more than 75% of the total tube length) to older stages (6 mm < Tube(length) < 10 mm: membranous tube absent). We used these results to propose the first estimates of dispersal distances by several post-larval stages secreting mucus or sinking passively through the water column. Experiments were carried out in the HYCOBENTHOS flume to determine values of critical shear velocity (u(*c)) inducing bedload transport and further resuspension of postlarvae of increasing sizes. The influence of mucus secretion by recruits on their ability to stay or quit a 'suitable' substratum was investigated by using either living or dead individuals. Results showed that: (a) the ability to secrete mucus rapidly is limited to the younger stages; (b) fall velocity of postlarvae is drastically lowered by mucus secretion (5 orders of magnitude) and is higher for the older stages; (c) dead recruits behave similarly to 'passive' recruits; (d) horizontal distances of drift dispersal may be considerable (up to 800 m for a single 22 min trip); (e) mucus secretion may be used by the postlarvae to anchor themselves to the substratum. Cost-benefit of using the mucus secretion as a tool for recruitment and the related spatial scales are discussed.