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Importance of heterotrophic planktonic communities in a mussel culture environment: the Grande Entrée lagoon, Magdalen Islands (Québec, Canada)
Trottet, A.; Roy, S.; Tamigneaux, E.; Lovejoy, C. (2007). Importance of heterotrophic planktonic communities in a mussel culture environment: the Grande Entrée lagoon, Magdalen Islands (Québec, Canada). Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 151(1): 377-392. hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00227-006-0494-y
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in Authors 

Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Trottet, A.
  • Roy, S.
  • Tamigneaux, E.
  • Lovejoy, C.

Abstract
    Mussel culture in coastal environments relies on the availability of food of sufficient quality and quantity. Both to determine this availability and to examine impacts that this aquaculture practice may have on the environment, it is important to have good knowledge of the type of plankton communities present in aquaculture sites. It is usually thought that phytoplankton make up the bulk of mussel diet in many of these sites. Here we show that the Grande-Entrée lagoon [Magdalen Islands, Gulf of St Lawrence (GSL), Canada], where commercial mussel culture has been on-going since 1980, differs from this pattern. Heterotrophic protists dominate for most of the summer-early fall season (apart from short diatom bursts), with a high average biomass of 160 mg C m-3. The dominance of small-sized phytoplankton cells (notably green algae), low nutrient concentrations (e.g. 0.3 µM NO 3 - on average) and high biomass of heterotrophic protists (mostly naked ciliates and tintinnids) all point to the importance of the microbial food web in this shallow marine environment. Sustained cultivation of suspended mussels in the lagoon suggests that these heterotrophic protists could be an important source of food for the mussels, supplementing the small amount of phytoplankton present.

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