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Effects of shrimp-farm effluents on the food web structure in subtropical coastal lagoons

AuthorsSerrano-Grijalva, Lilia; Sánchez Carrillo, Salvador ; Angeler, D. G.; Sánchez-Andrés, R.; Álvarez Cobelas, Miguel
KeywordsAnthropogenic stress
Coastal lagoons
Ecosystem ecology
Gulf of California
Stable isotopes
Trophic relationships
Issue Date19-Apr-2011
CitationJournal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 402(1-2): 65-74 (2011)
AbstractAlthough numerous studies have reported the negative effects of shrimp aquaculture on water quality, little is known about the ecological effects of these practices in coastal lagoons and near-shore marine habitats. The impact of shrimp-farm effluents on the food webs of an impacted subtropical coastal lagoon in the Gulf of California was evaluated through measurements of isotopic (δ13C, δ15N) signatures in sediments, plants and animals, and compared with the results of a near-pristine reference site. Degradation was manifested in a strong reduction on fish diversity at the perturbed site. δ13C signatures provided ambiguous evidence of degradation while δ15N was a better descriptor of shrimp-farm effluent impact on coastal lagoon food webs. The site receiving nutrient-rich discharges showed significant enrichment of δ15N (≈ 5‰) in sediments, macroalgae, benthic algae, filterfeeders and omnivorous feeders, resulting in qualitative differences in foodweb structure between both lagoons. The food web in the perturbed site was sustained by sediment detritus and dominated by opportunistic species. The lowest influence on δ15N signatures by aquaculture discharges recorded in the upper trophic levels could be explained by the shift in the composition of biotic communities, and associated feeding strategies. While alterations in resource availability do not affect directly food chain length, trophic linkages between food web compartments can be reduced as a result of shrimp farm impacts. Our study demonstrates that nutrient-enriched discharges from shrimp-farm aquaculture generate changes in the availability of food sources, which reduce biodiversity and alter structural and functional food web characteristics.
DescriptionReceived 4 October 2010, Revised 24 March 2011, Accepted 29 March 2011, Available online 19 April 2011
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jembe.2011.03.019
Appears in Collections:(MNCN) Artículos
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