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Freshwater seepages and ephemeral macroalgae proliferation in an intertidal bay: I Effect on benthic community structure and food web

Abstract : Freshwater seepages and ephemeral Enteromorpha spp. proliferation create heterogeneity at small spatial scale in intertidal sediment. Macrobenthic community diversity was compared between these two disturbances and their respective control points throughout the year 2007 at the Roscoff Aber Bay (Western English Channel, France). In March and September 2007, trophic community pathways of characteristic species were additionally studied using stable isotope ratios of carbon and nitrogen. The low salinity recorded at the freshwater seepage induced the exclusion of the main bioturbator and the presence of omnivores which modified the community composition by biotic pressure. Moreover, food web analyses clearly highlighted a separation at small spatial scale between the two trophic pathways of the impacted area and its control. On the contrary, little differences were observed owning to the ephemeral Enteromorpha spp. proliferation. This suggested a progressive and diffusive disturbance which was applied from the algal mat to the nearby area. However, seasonal changes were observed. First, the algal expansion phase increased the macrofauna diversity and foraminifers' abundance (meiofauna) and then acted as a physical barrier decreasing sediment and water column exchanges and decreasing the fauna diversity. This study highlights the need to take into account small spatial heterogeneity to avoid misinterpretations in intertidal ecology studies. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Submitted on : Thursday, January 14, 2016 - 10:57:17 AM
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Vincent Ouisse, Pascal Riera, Aline Migné, Cédric Leroux, Dominique Davoult. Freshwater seepages and ephemeral macroalgae proliferation in an intertidal bay: I Effect on benthic community structure and food web. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, Elsevier, 2011, 91 (2), pp.272-281. ⟨10.1016/j.ecss.2010.10.034⟩. ⟨hal-01255966⟩

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