On the use of experimental diets for physiological studies of hydrozoans.

Recent studies of hydrozoans suggest that metabolic factors associated with the physiology of gastrovascular fluid transport play a role in regulating morphogenetic development of colonies. In that context, the objective of this study was to develop a system to experimentally control diets of hydrozoans in culture that could be used to test effects of specific compounds. This diet delivery system consisted of a known concentration of homogenate of brine shrimp nauplii that was solidified in a 1% agar block cut to the size of, and containing the equivalent of, a single, 2-day old brine shrimp nauplius larva. We tested the utility of this system by comparing the frequencies of ingestion, and rates of gastrovascular transport and growth following feeding, between polyps of Podocoryna carnea fed either a single brine shrimp nauplius (controls) or an agar cube including brine shrimp homogenate. Polyps fed experimental diets showed similar rates of gastrovascular transport (6 and 12 h after feeding) and growth (24 h after feeding) to those of polyps fed a brine shrimp nauplius suggesting that no significant artefacts existed associated with these response variables. However, the frequency of ingestion of experimental foods by polyps was much less than that by control polyps. These results imply that this system of delivery of experimental diets has potential as a means to manipulate physiological state and assay the effects on morphogenesis of hydrozoan colonies, but must first overcome limitations of low ingestion frequency.