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Different particle sources in a bivalve species of a coastal lagoon: evidence from stable isotopes, fatty acids, and compound-specific stable isotopes


The trophic fate of various food sources is of central interest for ecologists, yet not well understood in coastal lagoon food webs. In this field study, fatty acids (FA), stable isotopes (SI), and compound-specific isotopic analysis (CSIA) on FA were used to investigate how diets from oceanic and local sources are retained in a bivalve species (Spondylus crassisquama; Lamarck 1819) along a transect in the Ojo de Liebre lagoon (BCS, Mexico). Results from SI and FA indicated the contribution of oceanic diatoms at the entrance of the lagoon, through 15N enrichment, and higher proportions of 16:1n-7 and 20:5n-3 in digestive glands. In the inner bay, higher abundance of 18-carbon FA (18:1n-9, 18:3n-3, 18:4n-3) suggested a higher contribution of microheterotrophs, including (dino)flagellates and ciliates, to the diet of this bivalve derived from local production. Significant spatial differences for the δ13C of FA highlighted changes in the origin of food sources. Indeed, a 13C depletion was observed in the δ13C of heterotrophic flagellates biomarkers in individuals from the innermost station, revealing that their origin in the diet of bivalves differs within the lagoon, highlighting the importance of local processes (sediment resuspension, remineralization) in the trophic functioning of the lagoon. The δ13C values of FA considered as diatoms biomarkers (16:1n-7 and 20:5n-3) were consistent, which suggests that diatoms assimilated have very similar origins throughout the lagoon. The complementary of the tracers used here allowed for a better understanding of the trophic functioning of this coastal lagoon submitted to oceanic influences.

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Authors would like to thank the contribution of the Guerrero Negro unit of CIBNOR for hosting the first steps of sample preparation after fieldwork, the LIPIDOCEAN analytical facilities for hosting all fatty acid analyses, and the Pôle Spectrométrie Océan (Clément Tanvet) for running bulk SI and CSIA analyses. Authors thank the fishermen crew for the fieldwork, but also Laura Guzman for their precious help during sampling and dissections, and Dr. Elena Palacios and Dr. Kitty Arredondo Vega, for the laboratory facilities provided for the preparation of samples at the CIBNOR La Paz. Authors address their thanks to the Reserva de la biosfera desierto de “el Vizcaino” for their help and support in carrying out sampling for this study. Authors would like to thank Aurelien Boye for his precious help and advices about statistical analyses. Authors also thank Pr. Sandra Shumway and an anonymous reviewer, for their help in improving this paper.


This study was supported by the ECOS-ANUIES program (PROPHYMUS project), the “Laboratoire d’Excellence” LabexMER (ANR-10-LABX-19) and co-funded by a grant from the French government under the program “Investissements d’Avenir”. MMR’s PhD fellowship was provided by the French Research Ministry and Region Bretagne.

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Correspondence to Margaux Mathieu-Resuge.

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All applicable international, national and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of bivalves Spondylus crassisquama were followed. The individuals of S. crassisquama have been sampled under the permit PRMN/DGOPA-011/2017, delivered by the Mexican government.

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Mathieu-Resuge, M., Schaal, G., Kraffe, E. et al. Different particle sources in a bivalve species of a coastal lagoon: evidence from stable isotopes, fatty acids, and compound-specific stable isotopes. Mar Biol 166, 89 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00227-019-3535-z

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