Skip to main content

Trophic structure of shallow-water benthic communities in the sub-Antarctic Strait of Magellan

Abstract

Trophic structure is among the most fundamental characteristics of an ecosystem since it is a useful way to determine the main energy flow at the ecosystem level. In the Magellan Strait, the local spatial heterogeneity at the shallow-waters ecosystems may have a great variety of potential food sources; however, knowledge about their biological communities and their structure is still unclear. We examined the trophic structure of shallow-water-mixed bottom communities at two sites in the sub-Antarctic Magellan Strait based on carbon (δ 13C) and nitrogen (δ 15N) stable isotope ratios. The benthic communities were composed of 46 species from 20 major taxa at Bahía Laredo (BL) and 55 species from 18 major taxa at Punta Santa Ana (PSA). Benthic macroalgae and organic matter associated with sediment are the major primary food sources at both sites. Although both sites are quite similar in their food sources and in their vertical trophic structure (≥three trophic levels), the food web structure varied distinctly. Functionally, predators and grazers dominated both communities, but top predators were shorebirds, carnivore anemones and predatory nemerteans at BL, and sea stars, shorebirds, crabs and fishes at PSA. The distinct differences in the trophic structure at BL and PSA highlight the important variability of δ 15N at the base of the benthic food web, the role of local environmental conditions and community dynamics in structuring shallow-water communities.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5

References

  • Adami ML, Gordillo S (1999) Structure and dynamics of the biota associated with Macrocystis pyrifera (Phaeophyta) from the Beagle Channel, Tierra del Fuego. Sci Mar 63:183–191

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Adin R, Riera P (2003) Preferential food source utilization among stranded macroalgae by Talitrus saltator (Amphipod, Talitridae): a stable isotopes study in the northern coast of Brittany (France). Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 56:91–98

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Andrade C, Brey T (2014) Trophic ecology of limpets among rocky intertidal in Bahía Laredo, Strait of Magellan (Chile). An Inst Patagonia 42:65–70

    Google Scholar 

  • Andrade C, Ríos C (2007) Estudio experimental de los hábitos tróficos de Trophon geversianus (Pallas 1774) (Gastropoda: Muricidae): selección y manipulación de presas. An Inst Patagonia 35:45–54

    Google Scholar 

  • Antezana T (1999) Hydrographic features of Magellan and Fuegian inland passages and adjacent Subantarctic waters. Sci Mar 63:23–34

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Aracena C, Lange C, Iriarte JL, Rebolledo L, Pantoja S (2011) Latitudinal patterns of export production recorder in surface sediments of the Chilean Patagonian fjords (41–55°S) as a response to water column productivity. Cont Shelf Res 31:340–355

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Arntz WE (1999) Magellan–Antarctic: ecosystems that drifted apart. Summary review. Sci Mar 63:503–511

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bahamondes I, Castilla JC (1986) Predation of marine invertebrates by the kelp gull Larus dominicanus in an undisturbed intertidal rocky shore of central Chile. Rev Chil Hist Nat 59:65–72

    Google Scholar 

  • Bearhop S, Adams CE, Waldron S, Fuller RA, Macleod H (2004) Determining trophic niche width: a novel approach using stable isotope analysis. J Anim Ecol 73:1007–1012

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bessa F, Baeta A, Marques JC (2014) Niche segregation amongst sympatric species at exposed sandy shores with contrasting wrack availabilities illustrated by stable isotopic analysis. Ecol Indic 36:694–702

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Britton JC, Morton B (1994) Marine carrion and scavengers. Oceanogr Mar Biol 32:369–434

    Google Scholar 

  • Bulgarella M, Pizarro LC, Quintana F, Sapoznikow A, Gosztonyi A, Kuba L (2008) Diet of imperial cormorants (Phalacrocorax atriceps) and rock shags (P. magellanicus) breeding sympatrically in Patagonia, Argentina. Ornitol Neotrop 19:553–563

    Google Scholar 

  • Camus PA, Cid YY, Cisterna L, Cáceres CW (2009) Consumption and digestion of animal food by rocky intertidal herbivores: an evaluation of digestive flexibility and omnivory in three grazer species. Lat Am J Aquat Res 37:191–197

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Camus PA, Arancibia PA, Ávila-Thieme MI (2013) A trophic characterization of intertidal consumers on Chilean rocky shores. Rev Biol Mar Oceanogr 48:431–450

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Castilla JC (1985) Food webs and functional aspects of the kelp, Macrocystis pyrifera, community in the Beagle Channel, Chile. In: Siegfried WR, Condy PR, Laws RM (eds) Antarctic nutrient cycles and food webs. Springer, Berlin, pp 407–414

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Castilla JC, Moreno CA (1982) Sea urchins and Macrocystis pyrifera: experimental test of their ecological relations in southern Chile. In: Lawrence JM (ed) Proceedings of the international echinoderm conference, Tampa Bay, Florida. Rotterdam, pp 257–263

  • Cattaneo-Vietti R, Chiantore M, Misic C, Povero P, Fabiano M (1999) The role of pelagic-benthos coupling in structuring littoral benthic communities at Terra Nova (Ross Sea) and in the Straits of Magellan. Sci Mar 63:113–121

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Chaparro OR, Thompson RJ, Pereda SV (2002) Feeding mechanisms in the gastropod Crepidula fecunda. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 234:171–181

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Corbisier TN, Petti MA, Skowronski RS, Brito TA (2004) Trophic relationships in the nearshore zone of Martel Inlet (King George Island, Antarctica): δ 13C stable-isotope analysis. Polar Biol 27:75–82

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Decottignies P, Beninger PG, Rincé Y, Robins RJ, Riera P (2007) Exploitation of natural food sources by two sympatric, invasive suspension-feeders: Crassostrea gigas and Crepidula fornicata. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 334:179–192

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • DeNiro MJ, Epstein S (1981) Influence of diet on the distribution of carbon isotopes in animals. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 45:341–351

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dunton KH (2001) δ 15N and δ 13C measurements of Antarctic Peninsula fauna: trophic relationships and assimilation of benthic seaweeds. Am Zool 41:99–112

    Google Scholar 

  • Fanelli E, Papiol V, Cartes JE, Rumolo P, López-Pérez C (2013) Trophic webs of deep-sea megafauna on mainland and insular slopes of the NW Mediterranean: a comparison by stable isotope analysis. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 490:199–221

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fischer G, Wiencke C (1992) Stable carbon isotope composition, depth distribution and fate of macroalgae from the Antarctic Peninsula region. Polar Biol 12:341–348

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fredriksen S (2003) Food web studies in a Norwegian kelp forest based on stable isotope (δ 13C and δ 15N) analysis. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 260:71–81

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fry B (1988) Food web structure on Georges Bank from stable C, N, and S isotopic compositions. Limnol Oceanogr 33:1182–1190

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fry B, Sherr E (1984) 13C measurements as indicators of carbon flow in marine and freshwater ecosystems. Contrib Mar Sci 27:13–47

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Gerdes D, Montiel A (1999) Distribution patterns of macrozoobenthos: a comparison between the Magellan region and the Weddell Sea (Antarctic). Sci Mar 63:149–154

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gillies CL, Stark JS, Smith SDA (2012) Small-scale spatial variation of δ 13C and δ 15N isotopes in Antarctic carbon sources and consumers. Polar Biol 35:813–827

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Goericke R, Fry B (1994) Variations of marine plankton δ 13C with latitude, temperature, and dissolved CO2 in the world ocean. Global Biogeochem Cy 8:85–90

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Graf G (1992) Benthic-pelagic coupling: a benthic view. Oceanogr Mar Biol Annu Rev 30:149–190

    Google Scholar 

  • Gutt J, Helsen E, Arntz WE, Buschmann A (1999) Biodiversity and community structure of the mega-epibenthos in the Magellan region (South America). Sci Mar 63:155–170

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Guzmán L (1978) Patrón de distribución espacial y densidad de Nacella magellanica (Gmelin, 1791) en el intermareal del estrecho de Magallanes (Mollusca, Gastropoda). An Inst Patagonia Ser Cienc Nat 9:205–219

    Google Scholar 

  • Guzmán L, Ríos C (1986) Análisis de la estructura en comunidades intermareales del Cabo de Hornos: ambientes de bloques y cantos. Estud Oceanol 5:67–105

    Google Scholar 

  • Guzmán L, Ríos C (1987) Age and growth of the Subantarctic limpet Nacella (Patinigera) magellanica magellanica (Gmelin, 1791) from the Strait of Magellan, Chile. Veliger 30:159–166

    Google Scholar 

  • Hamamé M, Antezana T (1999) Chlorophyll and zooplankton in microbasins along the Strait of Magellan-Beagle Channel passage. Sci Mar 63:35–42

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hobson KA, Ambrose WG, Renaud PE (1995) Sources of primary production, benthic-pelagic coupling, and trophic relationships within the Northeast Water Polynya: insights from δ 13C and δ 15N analysis. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 128:1–10

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Iriarte JL, Kusch A, Osses J, Ruiz M (2001) Phytoplankton biomass in the sub-Antarctic area of the Straits of Magellan (53°S), Chile during spring-summer 1997/1998. Polar Biol 24:154–162

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jackson AL, Inger R, Parnell AC, Bearhop S (2011) Comparing isotopic niche widths among and within communities: SIBER—Stable Isotope Bayesian Ellipses in R. J Anim Ecol 80:595–602

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Jacob U (2005) Trophic dynamics of Antarctic shelf ecosystems-food webs and energy flow budgets. PhD thesis, University of Bremen, Bremen

  • Jacob U, Mintenbeck K, Brey T, Knust R, Beyer K (2005) Stable isotope food web studies: a case for standardized sample treatment. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 287:251–253

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jaschinski S, Brepohl DC, Sommer U (2008) Carbon sources and trophic structure in an eelgrass Zostera marina bed, based on stable isotope and fatty acid analyses. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 358:103–114

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kaehler S, Pakhomov EA, McQuaid CD (2000) Trophic structure of the marine food web at the Prince Edward Islands (Southern Ocean) determined by δ 13C and δ 15N analysis. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 208:13–20

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Layman CA, Arrington DA, Montanã CG, Post DM (2007) Can stable isotope ratios provide for community-wide measures of trophic structures? Ecology 88:42–48

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Leclerc J, Riera P, Leroux C, Lévêque L, Davoult D (2013) Temporal variation in organic matter supply in kelp forests: linking structure to trophic functioning. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 494:87–105

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Magazzù G, Panella S, Decembrini F (1996) Seasonal variability of fractionated phytoplankton, biomass and primary production in the Straits of Magellan. J Mar Syst 9:249–267

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Maneveldt GW, Wilby D, Potgieter M, Hendricks MG (2006) The role of encrusting coralline algae in the diets of selected intertidal herbivores. J Appl Phycol 18:619–627

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Melville AJ, Connolly RM (2003) Spatial analysis of stable isotope data to determine primary sources of nutrition for fish. Oecologia 136:499–507

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Minagawa M, Wada E (1984) Stepwise enrichment of 15N along food chains: further evidence and the relation between δ 15N and animal age. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 48:1135–1140

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mintenbeck K (2008) Trophic interactions within high Antarctic shelf communities-food web structure and the significance of fish. PhD thesis, University of Bremen, Bremen

  • Navarrete SA, Castilla JC (1988) Foraging activities of Chilean intertidal crabs Acanthocyclus gayi Milne-Edwards et Lucas and A. hassleri Rathbun. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 118:115–136

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Newcombe EM, Cárdenas CA (2011) Rocky reef benthic assemblages in the Magellan Strait and the South Shetland Islands (Antarctica). Rev Biol Mar Oceanogr 46:177–188

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Newcombe EM, Cárdenas CA, Geange SW (2012) Green sea urchins structure invertebrate and macroalgal communities in the Magellan Strait, southern Chile. Aquat Biol 15:135–144

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Newsome SD, Martinez del Rio C, Bearhop S, Phillips DL (2007) A niche for isotopic ecology. Front Ecol Environ 5:429–436

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ojeda FP, Santelices B (1984) Invertebrate communities in holdfasts of the kelp Macrocystis pyrifera from southern Chile. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 16:65–73

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Parnell AC, Inger R, Bearhop S, Jackson AL (2010) Source partitioning using stable isotopes: coping with too much variation. PLoS ONE 5:e9672

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  • Penchaszadeh P, Bigatti G, Miloslavich P (2004) Feeding of Pseudochinus magellanicus (Philippi, 1857) (Echinoidea: Temnopleuridae) in the SW Atlantic Coast (Argentina). Ophelia 58:91–99

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Peters KE, Sweeney RE, Kaplan IR (1978) Correlation of carbon and nitrogen stable isotope ratios in sedimentary organic matter. Limnol Oceanogr 23:598–604

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Pizarro JC, Anderson CB, Rozzi R (2012) Birds as marine-terrestrial linkages in sub-polar archipelagic systems: avian community composition, function and seasonal dynamics in the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve (54–55°S), Chile. Polar Biol 35:39–51

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Post DM (2002) Using stable isotopes to estimate trophic position: models, methods, and assumptions. Ecology 83:703–718

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Raven JA, Johnston AM, Kübler JE, Korb R et al (2002) Mechanistic interpretation of carbon isotope discrimination by marine macroalgae and seagrasses. Funct Plant Biol 29:355–378

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Riccialdelli L, Newsome SD, Dellabianca NA, Bastida R, Fogel ML, Goodall RNP (2013) Ontogenetic diet shift in Commerson’s dolphin (Cephalorhynchus commersonii commersonii) off Tierra del Fuego. Polar Biol 36:617–627

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ricker WE (1973) Linear regressions in fishery sciences. J Fish Res Board Can 30:409–434

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ricker WE (1984) Computation and uses of central trend lines. Can J Zool 62:1897–1905

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ríos C (2007) Marine benthic communities of the Magellan region, Southern Chile: contribution of different habitats to the overall biodiversity. PhD thesis, University of Bremen, Bremen

  • Ríos C, Gerdes D (1997) Ensamble bentónico epifaunístico de un campo intermareal de bloques y cantos en Bahía Laredo, Estrecho de Magallanes. An Inst Patagonia Ser Cienc Nat 25:47–55

    Google Scholar 

  • Ríos C, Mutschke E (1999) Community structure of intertidal boulder-cobble fields in the Straits of Magellan, Chile. Sci Mar 63:193–201

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ríos C, Arntz WE, Gerdes D, Mutschke E, Montiel A (2007) Spatial and temporal variability of the benthic assemblages associated to the holdfasts of the kelp Macrocystis pyrifera in the Straits of Magellan, Chile. Polar Biol 31:89–100

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sampaio L, Freitas R, Máguas C, Rodrigues A, Quintino V (2010) Coastal sediments under the influence of multiple organic enrichment sources: an evaluation using carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes. Mar Poll Bull 60:272–282

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Santelices B, Ojeda P (1984) Effects of canopy removal on the understory algal community structure of coastal forest of Macrocystis pyrifera from southern South America. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 14:165–173

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Schaal G, Riera P, Leroux C (2008) Trophic coupling between two adjacent benthic food webs within a man-made intertidal area: a stable isotopes evidence. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 77:523–534

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Schaal G, Riera P, Leroux C, Grall J (2010) A seasonal stable isotope survey of the food web associated to a peri-urban rocky shore. Mar Biol 157:283–294

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sepúlveda J, Pantoja S, Hughen KA (2011) Sources and distribution of organic matter in northern Patagonia fjords, Chile (~44–47°S): a multi-tracer approach for carbon cycling assessment. Cont Shelf Res 31:315–329

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sokolowski A, Szczepanska A, Richard P, Kedra M, Wolowicz M, Weslawski JM (2014) Trophic structure of the macrobenthic community of Hornsund, Spitsbergen, based on the determination of stable carbon and nitrogen isotopic signatures. Polar Biol 37:1247–1260

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Steneck RS (1982) A limpet-coralline alga association: adaptations and defenses between a selective herbivore and its prey. Ecology 63:507–522

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Taghon GL, Nowell ARM, Jumars PA (1980) Induction of suspension feeding in spionid polychaetes by high particulate fluxes. Science 210:562–564

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Thayer GW, Parker PL, LaCroix MW, Fry B (1978) The stable carbon isotope ratio of some components of an eelgrass, Zostera marina, bed. Oecologia 35:1–12

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tieszen LL, Boutton TW, Tesdahl KG, Slade NA (1983) Fractionation and turnover of stable carbon isotopes in animal tissues: implications for δ 13C analysis of diet. Oecologia 57:32–37

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Urban HJ, Campos B (1996) Ecology of shallow-water bivalves. In: Arntz WE, Gorny M (eds) Cruise report of the Joint Chilean-German-Italian Magellan “Victor Hensen” Campaign in 1994. Ber Polarforsch 190, pp 78–80

  • Valls M, Sweeting CJ, Olivar MP, de Puelles MF, Pasqual C, Polunin NVC, Quetglas A (2014) Structure and dynamics of food webs in the water column on shelf and slope grounds of the western Mediterranean. J Marine Syst 138:171–181

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Vander Zanden MJ, Rasmussen JB (2001) Variation in δ 15N and δ 13C trophic fractionation: implications for aquatic food web studies. Limnol Oceanogr 46:2061–2066

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Vásquez JA, Buschmann AH (1997) Herbivore-kelp interactions in Chilean subtidal communities: a review. Rev Chil Hist Nat 70:41–52

    Google Scholar 

  • Wada E, Mizutani H, Minagawa M (1991) The use of stable isotopes for food web analysis. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 30:361–371

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Weller MW (1972) Ecological studies of Falkland Islands’ waterfowl. Wildfowl 23:25–44

    Google Scholar 

  • Winston JE (1978) Polypide morphology and feeding behaviour in marine ectoprocts. Bull Mar Sci 28:1–31

    Google Scholar 

  • Zabala S, Bigatti G, Botto F, Iribarne O, Galván D (2013) Trophic relationship between a Patagonian gastropod and its epibiotic anemone revealed by using stable isotopes and direct observations. Mar Biol 160:909–919

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

We thank the Laboratorio de Hidrobiología, Instituto de la Patagonia, Universidad de Magallanes for providing partly of the resources for this research. Special thanks go to Lic. Erika Mutschke who made the holdfast samples available for this study and to Dr. Américo Montiel who very kindly identified polychaetes samples. We thank Kerstin Beyer at AWI for her help during the sample preparation of the material for the Stable Isotopes Analyses. We also thank the editor and two anonymous reviewers for their comments, which helped improve this manuscript. This research was supported by a PhD fellowship (A0882368) to CA from the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD, Bonn, Germany) and the Comisión Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONICYT, Santiago, Chile).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Claudia Andrade.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Andrade, C., Ríos, C., Gerdes, D. et al. Trophic structure of shallow-water benthic communities in the sub-Antarctic Strait of Magellan. Polar Biol 39, 2281–2297 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00300-016-1895-0

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00300-016-1895-0

Keywords

  • Benthic communities
  • Functional guilds
  • Isotopic niche
  • Magellan Strait
  • Stable isotope
  • Subpolar
  • Trophic ecology