Stable isotope patterns in micronekton from the Mozambique Channel

Abstract : We measured the stable carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) isotopic composition of tissues of micronektonic organisms (fishes, squids, crustaceans and gelatinous organisms) collected in the Mozambique Channel during two scientific cruises in 2008 and 2009. The oceanic circulation in the Mozambique Channel is dominated by mesoscale cyclonic and anticyclonic eddies which play a key role in biological processes of less-productive deep-sea ecosystems. We investigated the potential impact of mesoscale features on the δ13C and δ15N values of 32 taxa of micronekton. Fishes, squids, crustaceans and gelatinous organisms encompassed a wide range of isotopic niches, with large over laps among species. Our results showed that mesoscale features did not really influence the isotopic signatures of the sampled organisms, although cyclonic eddies can occasionally impact the nitrogen signatures of micronekton. We show that δ13C values were intermediate between standard off shore and nearshore signatures, suggesting that pelagic production in the Mozambique Channel could be partly supported by the transport and export of inorganic and organic particles from the Mozambican coast toward the offshore area. Trophic levels calculated from δ15N values ranged from 2.6 to 4.2, showing that micronekton taxa can be tertiary consumers in the Mozambique Channel. Our findings evidenced clusters of micronektonic organisms according to their δ15N or δ13C isotopic signatures, but variations in stable isotope values reflect a complex set of embedded processes linked to physical mesoscale dynamics (rotational dynamics of eddies) and basic biology and ecology of micronektonic organisms (vertical habitat, migration pattern, dietary habits, body length) that are discussed with regard to the stable isotope method based on time-integrated assimilated food.
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Frédéric Ménard, Hermann Doris Benivary, Nathalie Bodin, Nathalie Coffineau, François Leloc'H, et al.. Stable isotope patterns in micronekton from the Mozambique Channel. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, Elsevier, 2014, 100, pp.153 - 163. ⟨10.1016/j.dsr2.2013.10.023⟩. ⟨hal-01081597⟩

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