AME 24:203-207 (2001)  -  doi:10.3354/ame024203

Contribution of methanotrophs to freshwater macroinvertebrates: evidence from stable isotope ratios

S. I. Kiyashko1,*, T. Narita2, E. Wada2

1Institute of Marine Biology FEB RAS, Vladivostok 690041, Russia
2Center for Ecological Research Kyoto University, Otsu 520-2113, Japan

ABSTRACT: Carbon and nitrogen isotopic composition of infaunal invertebrates from profundal and littoral zones of Lake Biwa, central Japan, was studied. Samples of chironomid larvae, Stictochironomus sp., showed large variations in both δ13C values (-64.0 to -23.0”) and δ15N values (-1.3 to 8.8”) and were significantly depleted in both 13C and 15N in comparison to other animals and primary producers from this lake. Moreover, δ13C values lower than -40” are unusual for freshwater food webs based on photoautotrophic sources. There was a strong positive correlation between δ13C and δ15N values of Stictochironomus sp., which clearly indicates a mixing of nutrition from 2 isotopically distinct sources. We presume that, other than photoautotrophic producers, only methanotrophic bacteria, which utilize isotopically light methane, could provide a source that is so depleted in both 13C and 15N. We suspect that the trophic association of some Chironomidae species with methanotrophic bacteria may turn out to be a widespread phenomenon.

KEY WORDS: Chironomidae · Methanotrophic bacteria · Feeding · Stable isotopes

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