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Primary producers sustaining macro-invertebrate communities in intertidal mangrove forests
Bouillon, S.; Koedam, N.; Raman, A.V.; Dehairs, F.A. (2002). Primary producers sustaining macro-invertebrate communities in intertidal mangrove forests. Oecologia 130(3): 441-448.
In: Oecologia. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0029-8549; e-ISSN 1432-1939, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

    Aquatic organisms > Marine organisms > Aquatic animals > Marine invertebrates
    Environments > Aquatic environment > Marine environment > Intertidal environment
    Marine/Coastal; Brackish water
Author keywords
    carbon; intertidal foodwebs; sediment; trophic relations

Authors  Top 
  • Bouillon, S., more
  • Koedam, N., more
  • Raman, A.V.
  • Dehairs, F.A., more

    In contrast to the large number of studies on the trophic significance of mangrove primary production to the aquatic foodweb, there have been few attempts to provide an overview of the relative importance of different primary carbon sources to invertebrates in the intertidal mangrove habitats. We determined carbon and nitrogen stable isotope ratios (delta 13C, delta 15N) in sediments, primary producers, and 22 invertebrate species from an intertidal mangrove forest located along the southeast coast of India in order to determine the contribution of mangrove leaf litter and other carbon sources to the invertebrate community. Organic matter in sediments under the mangrove vegetation was characterized by relatively high delta 13C values and low C:N ratios, indicating that mangrove-derived organic matter was not the principal source and that imported phytodetritus from the mangrove creeks and adjacent bay significantly contributed to the sediment organic matter pool. Invertebrates were found to display a wide range of delta 13C values, most being 3-11 enriched relative to the average mangrove leaf signal. The pulmonate gastropod Onchidium sp. showed unusually low delta 15N values (-5.6 plus or minus 0.9), but further work is needed to adequately explain these data. A compilation of stable isotope data from various sources indicates that significant assimilation of mangrove-derived carbon is only detectable in a limited number of species, and suggests that local and imported algal sources are a major source of carbon for benthic invertebrate communities in intertidal mangrove forests. These results provide new insights into carbon utilization patterns in vegetated tropical intertidal habitats and show a striking similarity with results from temperate salt marsh ecosystems where local plant production has often been found to contribute little to intertidal food webs.

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