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Benthic food-web structure of an Arctic fjord (Kongsfjorden, Svalbard)
Renaud, P.E.; Tessmann, M.; Evenset, A.; Christensen, G.N. (2011). Benthic food-web structure of an Arctic fjord (Kongsfjorden, Svalbard). Mar. Biol. Res. 7(1): 13-26
In: Marine Biology Research. Taylor & Francis: Oslo. ISSN 1745-1000, more
Peer reviewed article

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Keywords
    Isotopes; Seasonality; Spatial variations; Trophic structure; ANE, Norway, Svalbard [gazetteer]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Renaud, P.E., more
  • Tessmann, M.
  • Evenset, A.
  • Christensen, G.N.

Abstract
    Describing trophic relationships is fundamental for understanding ecosystem function and evaluating how these functions may vary under natural and human-induced changes in system drivers. The food-web structure (food-chain length, primary carbon sources, trophic positions of dominant functional groups) of an Arctic benthic community was investigated using stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen. Suspended organic matter, benthic fauna, and benthic-feeding fishes and seabirds were collected from two locations during three seasons in and just outside of Kongsfjorden, Svalbard. Stable isotope ratios suggested relatively little variability in food-web structure over the temporal and spatial scales studied. A single food source (pelagic phytoplankton) appeared to predominate throughout the year regardless of location. Further, our results confirmed findings from other areas indicating that Arctic food chains are long, consisting of between 4 and 5 trophic levels. The prevalence of deposit-feeding taxa may buffer seasonal signals, and the highly advective nature of Kongsfjorden, and perhaps many open (non-silled) fjords, is likely responsible for similar food-web structure, despite spatial variability in benthic community composition.

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