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The food web in the lower part of the Seine estuary: a synthesis of existing knowledge
Dauvin, J.-C.; Desroy, N. (2005). The food web in the lower part of the Seine estuary: a synthesis of existing knowledge. Hydrobiologia 540(1-3): 13-27
In: Hydrobiologia. Springer: The Hague. ISSN 0018-8158, more
Peer reviewed article  

Also published as
  • Dauvin, J.-C.; Desroy, N. (2005). The food web in the lower part of the Seine estuary: a synthesis of existing knowledge, in: Meire, P. et al. (Ed.) Ecological structures and functions in the Scheldt Estuary: from past to future. Hydrobiologia, 540(1-3): pp. 13-27, more

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    Benthos; Food webs; Zooplankton; ANE, France, Seine Estuary [Marine Regions]; Marine

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  • Dauvin, J.-C., more
  • Desroy, N.

    The Seine estuary illustrates the alterations to estuaries due to human activities heavy releases of pollutants of various origins and significant morphological changes beginning in the middle of the 19th century. The intertidal mudflat surface has been seriously reduced (< 30km2) since the channels of the Seine River came under management. While the role of the Seine estuary in the dynamics of the eastern English Channel ecosystem is recognized as important, the biological characteristics of the estuary remained relatively unknown until the 1990s. Biological diversity was progressively impoverished from the polyhaline zone to the oligohaline zone. In spite of a heavily contaminated environment, the macrobenthic and planktonic fauna of the Seine estuary remains similar to those of other northeastern Atlantic estuaries. The fauna exhibit clear contrasts between areas with very high abundance and others with very low abundance. The pelagic fauna, especially the copepod Eurytemora affinisand the shrimp Palaemon longirostris, are more abundant in the Seine estuary than in other estuaries. Diversified and abundant, Abra alba-Pectinaria koreni and Macoma balthica benthic communities occur, respectively, in the outer and inner parts of the estuary. In subtidal flats, benthic fauna is especially poor in terms of specific richness, abundance and biomass. Paradoxically, considering the high abundance of prey, fish are particularly scarce. Two food webs have been identified. In the oligohaline zone, where turbidity is maximum, the food web is exclusively planktonic, due to dredging that prevented benthic fauna from settling. In the polyhaline zone, fish populations that feed particularly on benthic fauna benefit from low turbidity and high oxygen concentrations. So, in spite of heavy organic and metallic contamination and human activities, the Seine estuary remains a highly productive ecosystem, which provides a nursery for marine fish and feeding grounds for migratory birds. A global management plan appears to be necessary in order to guarantee that the Seine estuary continues to function as it currently does.

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