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Benthic food webs support the production of sympatric flatfish larvae in estuarine nursery habitat
Dias, E., P. MORAIS, A. FARIA, C. Antunes, AND J. Hoffman. Benthic food webs support the production of sympatric flatfish larvae in estuarine nursery habitat. Fisheries Oceanography. Blackwell Publishing, Malden, MA, 26(4):507-512, (2017).
Fisheries production is a highly-valued ecosystem service of coastal habitats globally. Developing ecological production functions to relate nursery habitat to this ecosystem service, however, has proved challenging owing to lack of techniques to effectively relate habitat use with the early life stages of fish. In this study, we demonstrate how stable isotopes can be used to evaluate nursery habitat-fish production linkages using stable isotope analysis of an estuarine food web. In particular, we show how to quantify the reliance of two commercially-important fish species to various habitats, primarily contrasting support between benthic and pelagic habitat.
Identifying nursery habitats is of paramount importance to define proper management and conservation strategies for flatfish species. Flatfish nursery studies usually report upon habitat occupation, but few attempted to quantify the importance of those habitats to larvae development. The reliance of two sympatric flatfish species larvae, the European flounder Platichthys flesus and the common sole Solea solea, on the estuarine food web (benthic vs. pelagic) was determined through carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analysis. The organic matter sources supporting the production of P. flesus and S. solea larvae biomass originates chiefly in the benthic food web. However, these species have significantly different ä13C and ä15N values which suggests that they prey on organisms that use a different mixture of sources or assimilate different components from similar OM pools (or both).
Record Details:Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Organization:U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LABORATORY
MID-CONTINENT ECOLOGY DIVISION