Dynamics and sources of suspended particulate organic matter in the Marennes-Oléron oyster farming bay: Insights from stable isotopes and microalgae ecology

Abstract : The aim of this study was to distinguish between sources of the complex variety of Marennes-Oléron Bay suspended particulate organic matter (SPOM) contributing to the tropho-dynamics of the Marennes-Oléron oyster farming bay. Basic biomarkers (Chl a, C/N and POC/Chl a ratios), carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes from SPOM were analyzed and the microalgae community was characterized. The sampling strategy was bimonthly from March 2002 to December 2003; samples were taken from an intertidal mudflat. Four main sources contributed to the SPOM pool: terrigenous input from rivers, neritic phytoplankton, resuspended microphytobenthos and periodic inputs from intertidal Zostera noltii meadows. Seasonal fluctuations were observed in both years of the study period: (1) SPOM collected in the spring of 2002 (δ13C = −25‰ to −23‰) was mainly composed of fresh estuarine inputs; (2) SPOM from the summer and fall of 2002 and 2003 was predominantly neritic phytoplankton (δ13C = − 22‰ to −19‰); (3) SPOM from the winter of 2002, spring of 2003 and winter of 2003 (δ13C = −21 to −23‰) was composed of a mixture of decayed terrigenous river inputs and pelagic phytoplankton, which was predominantly resuspended microphytobenthos. In the summer of 2003—the warmest summer on record in southern France and Europe—SPOM was particularly enriched for 13C, with δ13C values ranging from −14‰ to −12‰. Pulses in δ13C values, indicative of 13C-enriched decaying materials, extended into the fall. These were attributed to benthic intertidal inputs, including both resuspended microphytobenthos and Z. noltii detritus. Changes in SPOM sources in Marennes-Oléron Bay may lead to differences in the quality of the trophic environment available for reared oysters.
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Nathalie Malet, Pierre-Guy Sauriau, Mireille Ryckaert, Pascale Malestroit, Gaël Guillou. Dynamics and sources of suspended particulate organic matter in the Marennes-Oléron oyster farming bay: Insights from stable isotopes and microalgae ecology. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, Elsevier, 2008, 78 (3), pp.576-586. ⟨https://www.sciencedirect.com/journal/estuarine-coastal-and-shelf-science⟩. ⟨10.1016/j.ecss.2007.11.001⟩. ⟨hal-01855356⟩

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