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Trawling disturbance on the isotopic signature of a structure-building species, the sea urchin Gracilechinus acutus (Lamarck,1816)

AuthorsGonzález-Irusta, José M.; Preciado, I.; López-López, Lucía; Punzón, Antonio; Cartes, Joan Enric ; Serrano, Alberto
KeywordsTrawling impact
Ecological indicator
Gracilechinus acutus
Stable isotopes
Issue DateAug-2014
PublisherPergamon Press
CitationDeep-Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography 106: 216-224 (2014)
AbstractBottom trawling is one of the main sources of anthropogenic disturbance in benthic habitats with important direct and indirect effects on the ecosystem functional diversity. In this study, the effect of this impact on a structure-building species, the sea urchin Gracilechinus acutus, was studied in the Central Cantabrian Sea (southern Bay of Biscay) comparing its isotopic signature and additional population descriptors across different trawling pressures. Trawling disturbance had a significant effect on the studied descriptors. In trawling areas, this urchin showed significantly lower values of biomass and mean size and significantly higher values of fullness index. Moreover, the trawling disturbance effect was also significant in the isotopic signature of G. acutus. Urchins inhabiting untrawled areas showed significant lower values of δ15N than urchins dwelling areas under trawling pressure. The urchins' isotopic enrichment increased along the species ontogeny regardless of the trawling effort level. Stable isotope analyses are a suitable tool to detect trawling disturbance on the trophic pathways but do not suffice to explain these changes, especially if there is a lack of baseline information. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.
DescriptionSpecial issue Oceanography of the Bay of Biscay.-- 9 pages, 7 figures, 3 tables
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dsr2.2013.09.036
Identifiersdoi: 10.1016/j.dsr2.2013.09.036
issn: 0967-0645
e-issn: 1879-0100
Appears in Collections:(ICM) Artículos
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