The key difference between suspension and deposit feeders is that suspension feeders ingest particles from the suspension while deposit feeders ingest particles from the sediment.
Suspension and deposit-feeding are two types of feeding in aquatic systems, especially in the benthos. Suspension feeders ingest particles from the suspension. Therefore, they obtain food suspended in water. Deposit feeders depend on the sediment. They ingest particles from sediments. They eat all the time since they need to meet their energetic requirements from sediments that contain low organic matter content.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What are Suspension Feeders
3. What are Deposit Feeders
4. Similarities Between Suspension and Deposit Feeders
5. Side by Side Comparison – Suspension vs Deposit Feeders in Tabular Form
What are Suspension Feeders?
Suspension feeders are aquatic animals that obtain nutrients from the suspension. Therefore, they feed on organic matter suspended in water. Many of them have the filtering ability. Brittle stars, some cnidarians, and many annelid worms are suspension feeders. Suspension feeders are found in both pelagic and benthic systems. They are ecologically important organisms that contribute to the maintenance of water quality in aquatic environments. They remove suspended organic matter and also dissolved inorganic particles. Moreover, they reduce water pollutants resulting from anthropogenic activities. Therefore, suspension feeders are a key part of many natural water remediation systems.
Some suspension feeders are primarily grazers of planktonic algae. Others are carnivores, omnivores and detritivores. Suspension feeders can capture particles from the suspension passively or actively. Passive suspension feeders depend on the ambient water flow, and they have a stalked morphology or build tubes. In contrast, active suspension feeders usually create their own feeding current or actively swim or engage in other feeding-related behaviours. Most of the active suspension feeders are filter feeders. They pump water through a filer like structure to capture foods.
What are Deposit Feeders?
Deposit feeders are aquatic animals that feed on organic matter settled down on the bottom. In other words, deposit feeders are animals that ingest particles in the sediments. Therefore, they are dominant in muddy sediments. They live on muddy and sandy sediments. They fulfil their nutrient requirement from the sediment of the seafloor mainly. Flounders, eels, haddock, bass, crabs, shellfish, snails and sea cucumbers are several examples of deposit feeders.
Generally, sediments contain low organic matter. Hence, in order to meet the energetic requirement, deep feeders may need to ingest large amounts of sediments continuously. This reduces the organic matter content in sediments. It also releases ammonium wastes to benthic microalgae and other microorganisms.
What are the Similarities Between Suspension and Deposit Feeders?
- Both suspension and deposit feeders are aquatic animals.
- They feed on particles in aquatic environments.
- Moreover, they are involved in nutrient cycling in aquatic systems.
What is the Difference Between Suspension and Deposit Feeders?
The key difference between suspension and deposit feeders is that suspension feeders obtain nutrients from the suspension while deposit feeders obtain nutrients from the sediment. Moreover, the suspension feeders are mostly filter feeders that create water currents through a filer-like structure to capture particles. Meanwhile, the deposit feeders swallow a large amount of sediments in order to meet their energy requirement. Therefore, they eat all the time. Thus, this is also a significant difference between suspension and deposit feeders.
The below infographic lists the differences between suspension and deposit feeders in tabular form for side by side comparison.
Summary – Suspension vs Deposit Feeders
Suspension feeders and deposit feeders are two types of aquatic animals based on their feeding habit. Suspension feeders capture and ingest organic matter suspended in water. They are mostly filter feeders. In contrast, deposit feeders ingest sediments and digest particles. Deposit feeders increase oxygenation and nutrient cycling. Suspension feeders increase water quality by removing suspended organic and inorganic particles. Thus, this is the summary of the difference between suspension and deposit feeders.
1. Doty, Lewis. “Suspension Feeders – Population Dynamics.” Ecology Center, 6 Jan. 2021, Available here.
2. “Deposit Feeding.” ScienceDirect Topics, Available here.
1. “Callyspongia sp. (Tube sponge)” By Nhobgood Nick Hobgood – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Semaphore crab-Heloecius cordiformis” By Sylke Rohrlach – Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia
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