Estuaries and Coasts

, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 179–191 | Cite as

Carbon Flows Through the Pelagic Sub-food Web in Two Basins of the Chilean Patagonian Coastal Ecosystem: the Significance of Coastal–Ocean Connection on Ecosystem Parameters

  • Héctor J. Pavés
  • Humberto E. GonzálezEmail author
  • Leonardo Castro
  • José L. Iriarte


The fjords and channels of the Chilean Patagonia are unique, and their high biological diversity is mainly associated with physicochemical characteristics of local water masses. The topography, depth, and extension of the Patagonian basins affect the extent to which water is exchanged between the inner and outer parts of the fjords, determining the marine productivity, biomass levels and energy flows through the pelagic food web. Coastal basins with high connectivity to the adjacent ocean and nutrient supply (e.g., the Inner Sea of Chiloe (ISCh)) might be predicted to have higher productivity and biomass than the relatively shallow, small-sized fjords and channels (e.g., Moraleda Channel (MCh)). To determine the ecotrophic and ecosystem-level similarities and differences of these two basins, we built two static and mass-balanced trophic models using Ecopath software. The models of planktonic communities were based on data collected during three scientific cruises conducted in 2006 and 2007. Diet, secondary production, and consumption rates were obtained from previously published data. The models’ results suggested that areas adjacent to the ocean (ISCh) had 61 % higher biomass, 44 % more biomass consumed, and a 17 % greater efficiency in the transfer of energy than inshore (MCh) areas. By characterizing the trophic position and linkages of the planktonic groups with a multi-taxa approach, we were able to analyze the roles of key species and functional groups that modulate the described biomass and energy flows under different conditions in two basins of the Chilean Patagonian coastal system.


Ecopath Microbial loop Traditional food web Patagonian coastal ecosystem 



The authors thank their many colleagues who provided the data, information, and constructive input that made possible the construction of a trophic model for the southern fjords of Chile: Maria Ines Muñoz (Universidad de Concepción), Dr. Giovanni Daneri (CIEP), Dr. Edwin Niklisheck (Universidad de Los Lagos), Dr. Ricardo Giesecke, Cecilia Torres (M.S.), Eduardo Menschel, Nicolás Sánchez, and María José Calderón (Universidad Austral de Chile). The authors also thank Shawn Booth at the UBC Fisheries Centre for providing helpful comments on this manuscript and for editing the manuscript prior to submission. The authors are indebted to all persons who have been working on the development of the Ecopath approach since the early 1980s, mainly through the support of Dr. Villy Christensen. This study was funded by the CIMAR-Fjords Program (grants 9, 12, and 13), FONDAP-COPAS no. 15010007, Programa Financiamiento Basal PFB-31/2007, and FONDECYT no. 1080187,and by the office of Research and Development (Universidad Austral de Chile; DID-S-2010-45). HEG and JLI would like to thank the Ocean Certain Project, Grant EU-FP7-ENV-2013-6.1-1; N°603773 for additional financial support during the last stage of this MS (data mining). HJP was supported by BECASCHILE Postdoctorate Program 2010, Fisheries Centre of University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada), and Postdoctorate Program 2011—Fondecyt no. 3120100 during this research.

Supplementary material

12237_2014_9780_MOESM1_ESM.doc (164 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 164 kb)


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Copyright information

© Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Héctor J. Pavés
    • 1
  • Humberto E. González
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  • Leonardo Castro
    • 2
    • 4
    • 5
  • José L. Iriarte
    • 3
    • 4
    • 6
  1. 1.Instituto de Ciencias Marinas y Limnológicas, Laboratorio de Oceanografía Biológica (LOCEB)Universidad Austral de ChileValdiviaChile
  2. 2.Centro de Investigación Oceanográfica en el Pacífico Sur Oriental (COPAS)Universidad de ConcepciónConcepciónChile
  3. 3.Centro de Investigación en Ecosistemas de la Patagonia (CIEP)CoyhaiqueChile
  4. 4.COPAS Sur-Austral PFB-31/2007Universidad de ConcepciónConcepciónChile
  5. 5.Departamento de OceanografíaUniversidad de ConcepciónConcepciónChile
  6. 6.Instituto de AcuiculturaUniversidad Austral de ChilePuerto MonttChile

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