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Ecological impact of salt farming in mangroves on the habitat and food sources of Austruca occidentalis and Littoraria subvittata
Nehemia, A.; Chen, M.; Kochzius, M.; Dehairs, F.; Brion, N. (2019). Ecological impact of salt farming in mangroves on the habitat and food sources of Austruca occidentalis and Littoraria subvittata. J. Sea Res. 146: 24-32. https://hdl.handle.net/10.1016/j.seares.2019.01.004
In: Journal of Sea Research. Elsevier/Netherlands Institute for Sea Research: Amsterdam; Den Burg. ISSN 1385-1101; e-ISSN 1873-1414, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    Isotope ratios; Mangrove deforestation; Salt production; Western IndianOcean

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Abstract
    The impact of salt farming on the habitats and food sources of Austruca occidentalis and Littoraria subvittata was studied in mangroves along the coast of Tanzania using stable isotopes (13C and 15N) and sediment particle size analysis. The 13C and 15N stable isotope composition in mangrove leaves, sediments and invertebrate tissues, were used to evaluate whether there are differences in feeding ecology of the crab Austruca occidentalis and the snail Littoraria subvittata collected from natural mangroves and mangroves around the salt ponds. Organic C, total N content and particle size distribution in sediments were used to assess if there are differences in habitat characteristics of mangroves around the salt ponds. Mangrove leaves and sediments were found to be 13C enriched around salt ponds compared to those from natural mangroves. Likewise the macroinvertebrates collected from mangroves around salt ponds were found be enriched in 13C relative to undisturbed mangroves. In addition, mangrove sediments around salt ponds were poorer in organic carbon and nitrogen and had more sand content compared to sediments from natural mangroves. These results indicate that salt pond activities have contributed to the modification of the habitats of macroinvertebrates by causing δ13C stable isotopes enrichment and alteration of sediment characteristics in the ecosystem.

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