Brachiopods are suspension feeders. The lophophore, which is suspended freely in the mantle cavity, functions as a feeding organ in capturing suspended particles. It also maintains the supply of oxygen to and removal of waste products from the mantle cavity by internal currents produced by the beating of its cilia.
Food items include plankton (mainly phytoplankton as diatoms); superficial meiobenthos (microscopic metazoans); colloidal (suspended) organic material; and dissolved organic material. This group of brachiopods also derives nourishment from direct absorption of dissolved nutrients.
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