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Trophodynamics of suprabenthic fauna on coastal muddy bottoms of the southern Tyrrhenian Sea (western Mediterranean)

AutorFanelli, Emanuela ; Cartes, Joan Enric ; Rumolo, P.; Sprovieri, M.
Palabras claveSuprabenthos (Hyperbenthos)
Assemblage dynamics
Stable isotopes
Seasonal variations
Environmental factors
Coastal muddy bottoms
Fecha de publicaciónfeb-2009
CitaciónJournal of sea research 61(3): 174-187 (2009)
ResumenThe trophodynamics of suprabenthic fauna were analyzed in the Gulf of Castellammare (North-western Sicily, Italy) at depths ranging between 40 and 80 m. Variations in species abundance and biomass together with changes in nitrogen and carbon stable isotope composition were explored at a seasonal scale, from November 2004 to June 2005. Suprabenthos showed maximum biomass and abundance from late winter to summer, while minimum values were found in autumn. The highest abundances of mysids and copepods occurred in March, 1 month after the peak of primary production. Amphipod abundance was higher in summer, likely due to a relative increase in organic matter in the sediments. Statistical analysis provided evidence for separation of sample abundances as a function of season. The best match between suprabenthos abundance and environmental variables was found with Chlorophyll a recorded 3 months before the sampling. Stable isotope analyses suggest a relatively complex food web in the Gulf of Castellammare with several potential food sources. Some suprabenthic species (i.e. mysids and copepods) exhibited depleted values of δ13C, indicating a planktonic source of nutrition. Cumaceans and amphipods displayed more enriched δ13C values, pointing to more detritivorous behaviour. A third group with intermediate δ13C values comprised species with a mixed diet (e.g. Ampelisca spp., Apherusa vexatrix and Harpinia spp.). Assuming a 15N-enrichment of ca. 2.54‰ between consumers and their diet, at least two trophic levels can be distinctly identified: (1) filter feeders/grazers (mysids, copepods), suspension/deposit feeders (Ampelisca spp., A. vexatrix, small Goneplax rhomboides) and omnivores, alternatively feeding on detritus and small invertebrates such as meiobenthos (the cumacean Leucon mediterraneus or the amphipod Westwoodilla rectirostris); (2) carnivores on small crustaceans and zooplankton (the amphipod Harpinia spp., the gobiid fish Lesuerigobius suerii and the decapod Philocheras bispinosus). Seasonal changes in isotopic composition occurred for the dominant suprabenthic species. This may result from diet shifts associated with changes in the availability of different food sources and/or from change in the primary sources of organic matter that are particularly variable in coastal environments
Descripción14 pages, 9 figures, 4 tables
Versión del editorhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.seares.2008.10.005
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