The Canadian Beaufort Shelf trophic structure: evaluating an ecosystem modelling approach by comparison with observed stable isotopic structure

Type Article
Date 2022
Language English
Author(s) Hoover Carie1, 2, 3, Giraldo CarolinaORCID4, 5, Ehrman Ashley5, Suchy Karyn D.6, Macphee Shannon A.7, Brewster Jasmine D8, Reist Jim D.9, Power Michael10, Swanson Heidi11, Loseto Lisa L.12
Affiliation(s) 1 : Dalhousie University, 3688, Marine Affairs Program, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
2 : Fisheries and Oceans Canada Central and Arctic Region, 111145, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
3 : University of Manitoba, 8664, Centre for Earth Observation Science, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
4 : Ifremer, HMMN, Centre Manche - Mer du Nord, Centre Manche-Mer du Nord, Boulogne sur Mer, France
5 : Fisheries and Oceans Canada Central and Arctic Region, 111145, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
6 : University of Victoria, 8205, Department of Geography, Victoria, Canada
7 : Fisheries and Oceans Canada Central and Arctic Region, 111145, Arctic and Aquatic Research Division, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
8 : Fisheries and Oceans Canada Central and Arctic Region, 111145, Inuvik, NorthWest Territories, Canada
9 : Fisheries and Oceans Canada , Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
10 : University of Waterloo, Biology, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
11 : University of Waterloo Faculty of Science, 98601, Biology, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
12 : Fisheries and Oceans Canada Central and Arctic Region, 111145, Arctic Aquatic Research Division , 501 University Crescent, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, R3T 2N6, , ;
Source Arctic Science (2368-7460) (Canadian Science Publishing), 2022 , Vol. 8 , N. 1 , P. 292-312
DOI 10.1139/AS-2020-0035
Keyword(s) Ecopath with Ecosim, Stable isotopes of nitrogen, Trophic Level, Marine Ecosystem
Abstract

Climate-driven impacts on marine trophic pathways worldwide are compounded by sea-ice loss at northern latitudes. For the Arctic, current information describing food web linkages is fragmented, and there is a need for tools that can describe overarching trophic structure despite limited species-specific data. Here, we tested the ability of a mass-balanced ecosystem model (Ecopath with Ecosim, EwE) to reconstruct the trophic hierarchy of 31 groups, from primary producers to polar bears, in the Canadian Beaufort Sea continental shelf. Trophic level (TL) estimates from EwE were compared with those derived from two nitrogen stable isotope (SI) modelling approaches (SI linear and scaled) to assess EwE accuracy, using a dataset of 642 δ15N observations across 282 taxa. TLs from EwE were strongly, positively related to those from both SI models (R2 > 0.80). EwE performed well (within 0.2 TL) for groups with relatively well-known diets or for taxa characterized by fewer trophic connections (e.g., primary consumers). Performance was worse (> 0.5 TL) for species groups aggregated at coarse taxonomic levels, those with poorly documented diets, and for anadromous fishes. Comparisons with SI models suggested that the scaled approach can overestimate the TL of top predators if ecosystem-specific information is not considered.

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How to cite 

Hoover Carie, Giraldo Carolina, Ehrman Ashley, Suchy Karyn D., Macphee Shannon A., Brewster Jasmine D, Reist Jim D., Power Michael, Swanson Heidi, Loseto Lisa L. (2022). The Canadian Beaufort Shelf trophic structure: evaluating an ecosystem modelling approach by comparison with observed stable isotopic structure. Arctic Science, 8(1), 292-312. Publisher's official version : https://doi.org/10.1139/AS-2020-0035 , Open Access version : https://archimer.ifremer.fr/doc/00709/82155/