Potential impact of the main benthic amphipods on the eastern Weddell Sea shelf ecosystem (Antarctica)
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As they represent one of the most diversified taxonomic groups on Antarctic bottoms, amphipods are likely to play a complex role in biogeochemical fluxes that occur within benthic ecosystems. The aim of this paper is to present, using both digestive tract analyses and relative species abundance data, the impact of amphipod feeding on different potential preys of the Weddell Sea. The study is based on data obtained for 29 representative amphipod species collected at 130 stations distributed along the eastern shelf of the Weddell Sea (depth range: 60–2,000 m) during three summer cruises, from 1989 to 1998. Sedimenting plankton particles (10–27%), crustaceans (22–32%) and fish carrion (5–18%) are the main food resources. Other abundant potential preys, such as molluscs or tunicates, do not seem to be consumed. Variations in the proportions of the different preyed food items are observed, mainly related to differences in relative amphipod species composition in samples. Presented results will help in refining ecological models of the prospected area, but also underline the need for accurate and reliable measurements of the feeding rates of Antarctic benthic organisms.
KeywordsPotential Prey Amphipod Species Diversify Taxonomic Group Relative Species Abundance Species Abundance Data
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