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Marine carbon and nitrogen in southeastern Alaska stream food webs: evidence from artificial and natural streams
Chaloner, D.T.; Martin, K.M.; Wipfli, M.S.; Ostrom, P.H.; Lamberti, G.A. (2002). Marine carbon and nitrogen in southeastern Alaska stream food webs: evidence from artificial and natural streams. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 59(8): 1257-1265
In: Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences = Journal canadien des sciences halieutiques et aquatiques. National Research Council Canada: Ottawa. ISSN 0706-652X, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Carbon isotopes; Marine pollution; Nitrogen; USA, Alaska [Marine Regions]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Chaloner, D.T., correspondent
  • Martin, K.M.
  • Wipfli, M.S.
  • Ostrom, P.H.
  • Lamberti, G.A.

    Incorporation of marine-derived nutrients (MDN) into freshwater food webs of southeastern Alaska was studied by measuring the natural abundance of nitrogen and carbon stable isotopes in biota from artificial and natural streams. Biofilm, aquatic macroinvertebrates (detritivores, shredders, and predators), and fish (coho salmon, Oncorhynchus kisutch, and cutthroat trout, Oncorhynchus clarki) were sampled from streams in which Pacific salmon Oncorhynchu spp.) carcasses had been artificially placed or were present naturally. In the presence of carcasses, all trophic levels incorporated marine-derived nitrogen (range, 22-73% of total N) and carbon (range, 7-52% of total C). In general, chironomid midges assimilated more marine-derived nitrogen and carbon than did other consumers. The assimilation of MDN by aquatic organisms and subsequent isotopic enrichment (5-6‰ for 15N, 3-4‰ for 13C) were similar in experimentally and naturally carcass-enriched streams. For specific taxa, however, percent assimilation for marine nitrogen and carbon were often dissimilar, possibly because of fractionation or transfer inefficiencies. These results suggest that pathways of MDN incorporation into stream food webs include both consumption of salmon material by macroinvertebrates and fish and uptake of mineralized MDN by biofilm. Incorporation of MDN into multiple trophic levels demonstrates the ecological significance of annual returns of anadromous fishes for sustaining the productivity of freshwater food webs.

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