Mechanisms and Rates of Suspension Feeding
Studies of suspension feeding by larvae are motivated by two different types of interest. One is evolutionary, and starts from questions about variation in larval form and the consequences of this variation for larval performance. The other is ecological, and starts from questions about the role of larvae in population dynamics and community interactions. Particles can be concentrated from a suspension without any filtration if an animal can detect the presence of a particle in a feeding current and divert the flow of a parcel of water that includes the particle. Explaining variation in mechanisms of particle capture assumes knowledge of mechanisms in different taxa. Knowledge of suspension-feeding mechanisms is disappointingly narrow. Most marine invertebrate larvae are much smaller than the adults, and most growth occurs after metamorphosis to the juvenile form. The evolution of non-feeding development among different clades may be biased by feeding mechanisms if some feeding mechanisms or larval designs are better food-collecting devices than others.