||Dubois Stanislas1, Orvain Francis1, 2, Marin Leal Julio César1, Ropert Michel2, Lefebvre Sébastien1
||1 : Univ Caen, Lab Biol & Biotechnol Marine, F-14032 Caen, France.
2 : IFREMER, Lab Environnement Resource Normandie, F-14520 Port En Bessin, France.
||Marine Ecology Progress Series (0171-8630) (Inter-Research), 2007-04 , Vol. 336 , P. 151-160
|WOS© Times Cited
||Trophic plasticity, Spatial variability, Stable isotopes, Sessile epibionts, Oysters, Shellfish
||Oyster culture structures support a host of epibionts belonging to the same suspension-feeding guild, which are considered to be potential competitors for food with cultivated oysters. In an intertidal shellfish ecosystem on the northern French coast, an approach based on stable isotopes (C-13 and N-15) was used to investigate intra- and interspecific food resource partitioning among cultivated oysters and the main associated wild sessile epibionts such as polychaetes, barnacles, mussels and ascidians. The main objective of the present study was to determine inter- and intraspecific food partitioning, along with small-scale spatial variability, within the guild of suspension feeders. We demonstrated that interspecific competition was limited among co-occurring suspension-feeders (ascidians, serpulid and terebellid polychaetes, bivalves and barnacles). None of the studied species had similar delta C-13 and delta N-15 signatures, indicating that relative contributions of organic matter sources may differ for each suspension-feeding species. Spatial variability was investigated both from the view of intra- and interspecific variability. Intraspecific variability was examined with regard to species' feeding biology and the trophic plasticity of co-occurring suspension-feeders. Mantel tests indicated that spatial heterogeneity resulted not only from environmental conditions, such as elevation above sea level (a.s.l.) and sediment features, but also from the inherent spatial structure of isotopic signatures. Our results show that isotopic approaches that are limited to sampling in one area and at one time are at risk of mistaking trophic interactions.