Marine Biology

, Volume 159, Issue 9, pp 1943–1954

Trophic diversity in amphipods within a temperate eelgrass ecosystem as determined by gut contents and C and N isotope analysis

Original Paper


A conjoint analysis of gut contents and stable C and N isotopes was applied to determine the main food sources and feeding habits of dominant amphipods in an eelgrass bed (Zostera marina) in Gwangyang Bay, Korea. Gut content observations demonstrated that, while Gammaropsis japonicus and Jassa slatteryi are herbivorous, feeding on epiphytes and detritus, Pontogeneia rostrata and Monocorophium acherusicum are omnivorous, feeding on mesozooplankton fragments and detritus. Stable isotope data confirmed that epiphytes, detritus, and mesozooplankton fragments were major food sources for amphipods in the eelgrass bed. Isotopic mixing model calculations clearly showed an interspecific difference in diet composition. A high isotopic dissimilarity between amphipod taxa demonstrated interspecific trophic diversity, reflecting their herbivorous (G. japonicus and J. slatteryi) and omnivorous (P. rostrata and M. acherusicum) feeding habits and confirmed the detrivorous feeding habits of caprellids. Such trophic diversity at interspecific level of the amphipod species indicates that they use different food resources within their microhabitats and play species-specific functional roles as mediators in trophic pathways from producers to higher-level consumers of the eelgrass ecosystem. Finally, our findings suggest that information on the species-specific trophic ecology of amphipods is needed to better understand their potential role in the trophic dynamics and carbon flow of seagrass bed ecosystems.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Seung Jin Jeong
    • 1
  • Hae-Lip Suh
    • 2
  • Chang-Keun Kang
    • 1
  1. 1.POSTECH Ocean Science and Technology InstitutePohang University of Science and TechnologyPohangRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Institute of Marine Science, Faculty of Earth Systems and Environmental SciencesChonnam National UniversityGwangjuRepublic of Korea

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