Importance of estuary morphology for ecological connectivity with their adjacent coast: A case study in Brazilian tropical estuaries

Type Article
Date 2021-04
Language English
Author(s) Pelage Latifa1, Gonzalez Júlio Guazzelli1, 2, Leloch François3, Ferreira Valdimere1, Munaron Jean-Marie3, Lucena-Frédou Flávia1, Frédou ThierryORCID1
Affiliation(s) 1 : Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco, UFRPE, Departamento de Pesca e Aquicultura, Rua Dom Manuel de Medeiros, s/n, Recife, PE. CEP: 52.171-900, Brazil
2 : MARBEC, Univ. Montpellier, CNRS, IRD, Ifremer, Montpellier, France
3 : IRD, Laboratoire des Sciences de L'Environnement Marin, UMR 6539, CNRS, UBO, IRD, Ifremer, 29280, Plouzané, France
Source Estuarine Coastal And Shelf Science (0272-7714) (Elsevier BV), 2021-04 , Vol. 251 , P. 107184 (11p.)
DOI 10.1016/j.ecss.2021.107184
WOS© Times Cited 7

Coastal habitats are interlinked by ecological connectivity, defined as the exchange of organic matter or organisms between habitats. The degree of this connectivity will depend in particular on the geometric properties of the landscape. The increasing anthropogenic alterations in estuaries therefore raises the need to understand how their morphological characteristics influence fluxes between habitats. We used stable isotopes to investigate the variability of ecological connectivity between three estuaries and their adjacent coastal areas by tracking the origin of the organic matter (estuarine vs coastal) underlying the diet of the migrant species Eucinostomus argenteus. The chosen estuaries were geomorphologically distinct, exhibiting, in particular, differences in their degree of connection to the sea, corresponding to the morphological features (shape, mouth width) controlling key physico-chemical variables in this habitat (e.g. salinity). The sampling of the basal food sources contributing to the food web was performed in the three estuaries and in their adjacent coasts. The variability in stable isotope ratios between estuaries was examined for both fish and sources of organic matter. In the three estuaries, Bayesian models were applied for each season (dry and rainy) to quantify the relative contribution of sources from estuarine and coastal environments supporting the diet of the silver mojarra. The share of coastal organic matter increased with the degree of sea connection, indicating that the properties of the seascape can regulate the intensity of interactions between ecosystems. Variations in ecological connectivity are likely to affect the functioning of ecosystems as they influence trophic pathways and energy flows between adjacent habitats. Morphological modifications could thus significantly disturb ecosystems by altering the structure of food web, thereby affecting certain ecosystem services such as the availability of living marine resources.

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Pelage Latifa, Gonzalez Júlio Guazzelli, Leloch François, Ferreira Valdimere, Munaron Jean-Marie, Lucena-Frédou Flávia, Frédou Thierry (2021). Importance of estuary morphology for ecological connectivity with their adjacent coast: A case study in Brazilian tropical estuaries. Estuarine Coastal And Shelf Science, 251, 107184 (11p.). Publisher's official version : , Open Access version :