Reference : Trophic diversity and potential role of detritivorous crustaceans in Posidonia oceani...
Scientific congresses and symposiums : Unpublished conference/Abstract
Life sciences : Zoology
Life sciences : Environmental sciences & ecology
Life sciences : Aquatic sciences & oceanology
Trophic diversity and potential role of detritivorous crustaceans in Posidonia oceanica litter
Sturaro, Nicolas mailto [Université de Liège - ULiège > Département des sciences et gestion de l'environnement > Océanologie >]
Gobert, Sylvie mailto [Université de Liège - ULiège > Département des sciences et gestion de l'environnement > Océanologie >]
Cox, Anne-Sophie [ > > ]
Lepoint, Gilles mailto [Université de Liège - ULiège > Département des sciences et gestion de l'environnement > Océanologie >]
Mediterranean Seagrass Workshop 2006
[en] detrivorous crustaceans ; Posidonia oceanica litter ; trophic diversity ; gut analyses ; stable isotopes ; mixing model
[en] Detrivorous crustaceans are pivotal components of the trophic food webs and are found to be the main constituents of the macrofauna in Posidonia oceanica litter. The coexistence of many of these species in the same biotope raises the question of trophic diversity and of its role in litter degradation process.
Diet composition of five common species of detrivorous crustaceans in P. oceanica litter (i.e. the gammarid amphipods Gammarella fusicola and Gammarus aequicauda and the isopods Idotea baltica, Idotea hectica and Zenobiana prismatica) were studied using a combination of gut content and stable isotopes analysis.
Despite the common food supply (i.e. Posidonia dead leaf, Posidonia epiphytes or drift macroalgae), there were considerable interspecific differences in diet composition. Gut content observations indicate that P. oceanica leaf litter is an important part of the ingested food of all the species. Algae material (macroepiphytes and drift macroalgae) inhabiting the litter is mainly found in G. fusicola, I. hectica and I. baltica. I. baltica displays a high proportion of crustacean fragments.
Isotope ratios showed that most of the species do not assimilate much of the ingested Posidonia. Application of a mixing model using isotopic values to estimate the contribution of the potential different food sources confirms this view. On one hand, the tissue of G. aequicauda could be constituted by more than 50 % of P. oceanica carbon. On the other hand, for the other species studied, P. oceanica represented a minor contribution (10 - 30 %), although it is a major component of the gut contents. This could imply that micro-organism (diatoms, bacteria and fungi) living on the Posidonia detritus is a major food source of detrivorous. Moreover, I. baltica, Z. prismatica and G. fusicola have a diversified diet composed mainly of algae. Crustaceans are an important food source for I. baltica. By contrast, I. hectica indicated a major contribution of algae material.
Our results demonstrate the trophic diversity existing between the detrivorous crustaceans species in P. oceanica litter. This trophic diversity is probably one of the factors that allows these species to coexist in the same biotope. The results also underline the potential role of these species in the degradation of P. oceanica litter by fragmenting mechanically the Posidonia detritus and by assimilating directly Posidonia carbon and transferring it to higher trophic level (i.e. coastal fishes). Moreover, it allows us to think that micro-organisms (diatoms, bacteria and fungi) colonising leaf litter may constitute an important food source for litter fauna.
Centre Interfacultaire de Recherches en Océanologie - MARE
Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (Communauté française de Belgique) - FNRS (contrat FRFC
Researchers ; Professionals ; Students

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