Incorporation of terrestrial wetland material into aquatic food webs in a tropical estuarine wetland

Abrantes, Katya, and Sheaves, Marcus (2008) Incorporation of terrestrial wetland material into aquatic food webs in a tropical estuarine wetland. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science , 80 (3). pp. 401-412.

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Carbon and nitrogen stable isotope composition of a range of organisms collected from two intermittently connected floodplain pools in the Ross River estuary were analysed to assess the extent to which carbon fixed by terrestrial wetland producers is incorporated into adjacent aquatic food webs. The two pools differed in surrounding vegetation with one surrounded by mangroves and the other by the salt couch Sporobolus virginicus. At both pools, animals showed differences in δ13C, indicating differences in sources of carbon. Since δ13C values of C3 mangroves (−29.7 to −26.3‰) were very different from those of the C4 salt couch (−16.3 to −15.4‰), it was possible to determine the importance of terrestrial wetland producers by comparing isotope values of consumers between sites, in a species by species approach. Most animal species collected showed lower δ13C at the mangrove pool than at the Sporobolus pool, which indicates a greater incorporation of mangrove carbon at the mangrove pool. However, the animals’ isotopic shifts were also similar to that shown by epiphytes, and hence the differences in animal δ13C could also be a result of a dependence on these producers. The IsoSource model was useful to clarify this question, indicating that mangrove and salt marsh material was a crucial contributor to the diet of several fish and invertebrate species at both sites, indicating that carbon of terrestrial origin is incorporated in the estuarine food web.

Item ID: 6291
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1096-0015
Keywords: sstuarine ecology; stable isotope analysis; fish; mangrove; salt marsh; delta 13 Carbon; delta 15 Nitrogen
Date Deposited: 21 Jan 2010 05:17
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960503 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Coastal and Estuarine Environments @ 60%
83 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8302 Fisheries - Wild Caught > 830204 Wild Caught Fin Fish (excl. Tuna) @ 40%
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