Hydrobiologia

, Volume 717, Issue 1, pp 85–108 | Cite as

Structure and functioning of two pelagic communities in the North Chilean Patagonian coastal system

  • Héctor J. Pavés
  • Humberto E. González
  • Villy Christensen
Primary Research Paper

Abstract

The size composition of primary producers is important for how energy is channeled through a food web and on to the higher trophic levels and eventually to fisheries. To evaluate this, we studied the productive patterns for large (micro) versus small (nano) phytoplankton in two south marine Patagonian ecosystems: The Inner Sea of Chiloe—ISCh and, Moraleda Channel—MCh. We built Ecopath models (EwE), and evaluated the hypothesis that the overall primary productivity—rather than the ratio of large to small primary producers—constitutes an adequate proxy for predicting the amount of secondary and tertiary production and biomass (up to the fisheries). The EwE model included four small-scale fisheries and 36 functional groups. The functioning of both ecosystems was similar but the ecosystem parameters (biomass, energy transfer efficiencies from primary producers, secondary, and tertiary production) were twice as much in the basin with more microphytoplankton biomass. Overall, the hypothesis was rejected, albeit it was possible to highlight the importance of the quality and size spectrum of plankton on the structure of marine ecosystem, and to demonstrate the key role of the microbial loop over traditional food web in the functioning of the carbon biological pump in Patagonia ecosystems.

Keywords

Ecopath Microbial loop Traditional food web Patagonian coastal system 

Supplementary material

10750_2013_1576_MOESM1_ESM.doc (598 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 597 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Héctor J. Pavés
    • 1
    • 2
  • Humberto E. González
    • 1
    • 3
  • Villy Christensen
    • 4
  1. 1.Instituto de Ciencias Marinas y Limnológicas, Facultad de CienciasUniversidad Austral de ChileValdiviaChile
  2. 2.Fisheries CentreUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  3. 3.COPAS Sur Austral (PFB-31/2007) and COPAS, Center of OceanographyUniversidad de Concepción, Concepción and Patagonian Ecosystem Research Center (CIEP)CoyhaiqueChile
  4. 4.Fisheries CentreUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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