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Trophic significance of kelps in kelp communities in Brittany (France) inferred from isotopic comparisons

Abstract

The relative contribution of kelps and other food sources to the diet of consumers in shallow coastal communities has been hotly debated in recent years. It has been suggested that considering proxies instead of phytoplankton isotopic signatures can lead to an overestimation of kelp contribution through isotopic mixing models. We analysed spatial patterns in carbon isotopic ratios of the dominant primary sources and consumers at two subtidal sites in Brittany (France) prior to the anticipated 2011 phytoplankton bloom to determine which of kelp and phytoplankton is the dominant food source in Laminaria hyperborea forests. We found simultaneous spatial variations for consumers, kelps and deposited particulate organic matter, suggesting that kelp-derived organic matter is a key component of associated food webs for at least part of the year.

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Acknowledgments

We are grateful to all the team of the “Service Mer & Observation SBR”, especially Y Fontana, W Thomas, M Camusat and N Guidal, and to P. Le Niliot (PNMI) for the sampling set-up. We also thank three anonymous reviewers and P. Gagnon for constructive comments that helped improve the manuscript. This work was supported by the Iroise Marine Natural Park (PNMI) and the Brittany Regional Council.

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Correspondence to J.-C. Leclerc.

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Communicated by U. Sommer.

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Leclerc, JC., Riera, P., Leroux, C. et al. Trophic significance of kelps in kelp communities in Brittany (France) inferred from isotopic comparisons. Mar Biol 160, 3249–3258 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00227-013-2306-5

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00227-013-2306-5

Keywords

  • Phytoplankton
  • Macroalgae
  • Extracellular Polymeric Substance
  • Particulate Organic Matter
  • Sediment Organic Matter