, Volume 138, Issue 1, pp 77-86

Contribution of mangrove detritus to juvenile prawn nutrition: a dual stable isotope study in a Malaysian mangrove forest

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Dual stable C and N ratio analyses of primary producers and prawns have clarified the important role of mangrove detritus as the primary food source of juvenile prawns inhabiting the upper estuaries of the Matang mangrove swamp in Malaysia. The contribution of mangrove carbon to prawn tissues, as high as 84%, decreased in the offshore direction, as the contribution by phytoplankton became progressively more important. Prawns located 2 km outside the mangrove swamp still exhibited a dependency of 15–25% on mangrove carbon, but farther offshore (7–10 km) in shallow waters, the prawn's food was basically phytoplankton, with some contribution from benthic microalgae. Comparative stable C and N isotope ratios of tissue and gut contents indicate that prawns basically assimilated what they consumed.

Received: 29 February 2000 / Accepted: 26 August 2000