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Selectivity of subtidal benthic invertebrate communities for local microalgal production in an estuarine mangrove ecosystem during the post-monsoon period
Bouillon, S.; Koedam, N.; Baeyens, W.F.J.; Satyanarayana, B.; Dehairs, F.A. (2004). Selectivity of subtidal benthic invertebrate communities for local microalgal production in an estuarine mangrove ecosystem during the post-monsoon period. J. Sea Res. 51(2): 133-144.
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  

Available in  Authors 
    VLIZ: Open Repository 56374 [ OMA ]

    Algae; Aquatic communities; Benthic environment; Dissolved inorganic carbon; Estuarine front; Food preferences; Food webs; Litter; Mangroves; Monsoons; Particulate organic carbon; Seasonality; ISW, India, Andhra Pradesh, Godavari Estuary [Marine Regions]; Marine; Brackish water
Author keywords
    mangrove; carbon; nitrogen; outwelling; dissolved inorganic carbon; India; Godavari

Authors  Top 
  • Satyanarayana, B., more
  • Dehairs, F.A., more

    Stable isotope analysis was used as a tool to assess the main carbon sources sustaining the benthic invertebrate communities in an estuarine mangrove ecosystem along the southeast coast of India during the post-monsoon season. In particular, we wanted to test whether the large amounts of terrestrial carbon brought in during the monsoon influence the benthic foodweb in this area, by comparing with earlier data on the pre-monsoon period. The d13C of the dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) pool was spatially variable, with lower values in the mangrove creeks (-10.6 to -8.9‰) compared to those in the adjacent bay region (-4.3 to -2.6‰). Fixation of the 13C-depleted DIC in the mangrove creeks should therefore result in a partial overlap in the d13C signature of mangrove-derived carbon and local phytoplankton. The lack of correlation between d13 values of benthic invertebrates (which showed a large spatial gradient of ~ 8‰) and those of sediments or suspended matter (both showing only small spatial gradient of <2.5) indicates that invertebrates were highly selective for locally produced algal food sources. These results are similar to those obtained during the pre-monsoon period in the same area, although in each region d13 values were consistently more negative (by 1-3‰) during the post-monsoon period, consistent with the seasonality in d13DIC. By defining selectivity as the relative spatial gradient in consumer d13C compared to the d13C of bulk particulate organic carbon (POC) and d13CDIC (as a proxy for the variations expected in local producers), and assuming that the selectivity is similar along the salinity gradient, we estimate that benthic invertebrates rely almost entirely on locally produced microalgal carbon sources. A critical evaluation of earlier studies shows that there is currently no unambiguous evidence for a trophic role of mangrove litter in sustaining subtidal benthic and pelagic invertebrate communities in adjacent aquatic systems.

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