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Trophic significance of the kelp Laminaria digitata (Lamour.) for the associated food web: a between-sites comparison

Abstract : This study aimed at establishing the trophic significance of the kelp Laminaria digitata for consumers inhabiting two rocky shores of Northern Brittany (France), displaying contrasted ecological conditions. The general trophic structure did not vary between these two sites, with a wide diversity of filter-feeders and predators, and only 14% of the species sampled belonging to the grazers' trophic group. The diversity of food sources fueling the food web appeared also similar. The food webs comprised four trophic levels and the prevalence of omnivory appeared relatively low compared to previous studies in the same area. Conversely, to the food web structure, which did not differ, the biochemical composition of L digitata differed between the two sites, and was correlated to a larger diversity of grazers feeding on this kelp in sheltered conditions. This indicated that the spatial variability occurring in the nutritive value of L digitata is likely to deeply affect the functioning of kelp-associated food webs. The contribution of L digitata-derived organic matter to the diet of filter-feeders inhabiting these two environments was assessed using the mixing model Isosource, which showed the higher contribution of kelp matter in sheltered conditions. These results highlight the spatial variability that may occur in the functioning of kelp-associated food webs. Moreover, this suggests that hydrodynamics is likely to control the availability of kelp-derived organic matter to local filter-feeders, probably through an increase of detritus export in exposed areas. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Submitted on : Thursday, January 14, 2016 - 10:57:34 AM
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Gauthier Schaal, Pascal Riera, Cédric Leroux. Trophic significance of the kelp Laminaria digitata (Lamour.) for the associated food web: a between-sites comparison. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, Elsevier, 2009, 85 (4), pp.565-572. ⟨10.1016/j.ecss.2009.09.027⟩. ⟨hal-01255981⟩

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