MEPS 165:17-29 (1998)  -  doi:10.3354/meps165017

Inverse model analysis of the planktonic food web of Takapoto Atoll (French Polynesia)

Nathalie Niquil1,*, George A. Jackson2, Louis Legendre3, Bruno Delesalle1

1EPHE, Laboratoire de Biologie Marine et Malacologie, URA CNRS 1453, Université de Perpignan, F-66860 Perpignan Cedex, France; and CRIOBE, BP 1013 Moorea, Polynésie française 2Department of Oceanography, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843, USA 3Département de biologie, Université Laval, Québec G1K 7P4, Canada

A steady-state model of the planktonic food web of the lagoon of Takapoto Atoll (Tuamotu Archipelago, French Polynesia) was developed to assess the characteristics of that ecosystem. The planktonic food web was divided into 7 compartments, whose carbon biomasses and rates of exchange were determined from field data combined with inverse analysis, the latter being used to estimate missing rates. Results indicate that the system was characterized by high phytoplankton production and, in agreement with previous results, low bacterial production. Due to their high metabolism, metazoan zooplankton played a dominant role in the cycling of carbon. In contrast, the contribution of protozoa was small. The non-living particulate organic carbon compartment also played a key role, qualitatively and quantitatively, because detritus was directly consumed by all heterotrophic compartments.

Plankton · Food web · Inverse model analysis · Atoll lagoon · Coral reef · French Polynesia

Full text in pdf format