Relatively little is known about the role of turbulence in a predator-prey system where the predator is a passive, pelagic forager. The Campanulariid hydroid Clytia gracilis (Cnidaria, Hydrozoa) is unusual because it occurs as planktonic colonies and is reported to forage passively in the water column on Georges Bank, Massachusetts, USA. in this study, we investigated the role of various turbulence conditions on the feeding rate of C. gracilis colonies in laboratory experiments. We found a positive relationship between turbulence velocities and feeding rates up to a turbulent energy dissipation rate of ca. 1 cm(2) s(-3). Beyond this threshold feeding rate decreased slightly, indicating a dome-shaped relationship. Additionally, a negative relationship was found between feeding efficiency and hydroid colony size under lower turbulent velocities, but this trend was not significant under higher turbulence regimes. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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