Carbon sources and trophic structure in an eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) bed based on stable isotope and fatty acid analyses

Jaschinski, Sybill, Brepohl, Daniela C. and Sommer, Ulrich (2008) Carbon sources and trophic structure in an eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) bed based on stable isotope and fatty acid analyses Marine Ecology Progress Series, 358 . pp. 103-114. DOI 10.3354/meps07327.

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Multiple stable isotope and fatty acid analyses were applied to examine food web dynamics in an eelgrass Zostera marina L. system in the western Baltic Sea. Samples of eelgrass, epiphytic algae, sand microflora, red algae, phytoplankton and main consumer species were collected in June 2002. delta C-13 values of primary producers ranged from -9.6%. for eelgrass to the most depleted value of -34.9%. for the most abundant red alga, Delesseria sanguinea, Epiphyte delta C-13 (-11.3 parts per thousand.) was close to the value for eelgrass, whereas sand microflora and phytoplankton showed intermediate values (-20.0 and -22.6 parts per thousand, respectively). delta C-13 values of consumer species varied from - 12.2 parts per thousand in the gastropod Lacuna vincta to -23.9 parts per thousand in the amphipod Amphitoe rubricata. Epiphytes, sand microflora and phytoplankton had relatively similar fatty acid signatures, indicating a dominance of diatoms. Fatty acid composition of the main consumers included the biomarker fatty acids for diatoms and red algae, whereas those for eelgrass were negligible. The stable isotope data in combination with the results of the fatty acid analysis strongly indicated that the food web in this eelgrass community was based on epiphytes, sand microflora and red algae. Additionally, the continuous distribution of delta N-15 values implied a food web that was characterized by a large proportion of generalist feeders in every group of consumers and by a high degree of omnivory.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: food web structure; seagrass; epiphytes; microphytobenthos; IsoSource
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EOE-N Experimental Ecology - Food Webs
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.3354/meps07327
ISSN: 0171-8630
Projects: Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2008 16:50
Last Modified: 10 Mar 2014 12:15

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