MEPS 567:139-156 (2017)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12036

Food resources of the bivalve Astarte elliptica in a sub-Arctic fjord: a multi-biomarker approach

Blandine Gaillard1,8,*, Tarik Meziane2, Réjean Tremblay1, Philippe Archambault1,3, Martin E. Blicher4, Laurent Chauvaud5, Søren Rysgaard4,6,7, Frédéric Olivier2

1Institut des Sciences de la mer, Université du Québec à Rimouski, 310 Allée des Ursulines, Rimouski, Québec G5L 3A1, Canada
2Biologie des Organismes et Ecosystèmes Aquatiques, UMR-MNHN, CNRS, UPMC, IRD, UCN, UA, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, 61 rue Buffon, CP 53, 75231 Paris Cedex 05, France
3Québec-Océan, Département de Biologie, Université Laval, Québec G1V 0A6, Canada
4Greenland Climate Research Centre, Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, Kivioq 2, Box 570, 3900 Nuuk, Greenland
5Unité Mixte de Recherche ‘Laboratoire des sciences de l’environnement marin’ (LEMAR, UMR 6539), Institut Universitaire Européen de la Mer, Technopôle Brest-Iroise, rue Dumont d’Urville, 29280 Plouzané, France
6Centre for Earth Observation Science, CHR Faculty of Environment Earth and Resources, University of Manitoba, 499 Wallace Building, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T 2N2, Canada
7Arctic Research Centre, Aarhus University, Ny Munkegade 114, Bldg. 1540, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark
8Present address: Biologie des Organismes et Ecosystèmes Aquatiques, UMR- MNHN, CNRS, UPMC, IRD, UCN, UA, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, 61 rue Buffon, CP 53, 75231 Paris Cedex 05, France
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: It is generally agreed that pelagic-benthic coupling is tight on Arctic shelves, i.e. that organic matter produced in the surface layers supports the seafloor and benthos. However, this paradigm is mainly based on the assumption that phytoplankton and ice algae are the main sources of carbon for the benthic communities. Climate change is expected to alter the relative contribution of food sources for benthic organisms. Macroalgal biomass is predicted to increase in near-shore systems in response to increased temperature and reduced sea ice cover. Thus, a better understanding of the relative contribution of benthic and pelagic components in benthic food webs in the Arctic is needed. In this study, a multi-biomarker approach (stable isotopes, fatty acid trophic markers, and compound-specific stable isotope analysis) was applied to link potential sources of carbon, including particulate organic matter from subsurface and bottom waters, sediment organic matter, and 6 macroalgal species to the diet of the bivalve Astarte elliptica collected below the euphotic zone in a sub-Arctic fjord (Kobbefjord, Greenland). Results showed that A. elliptica feeds on particulate and sediment organic matter and that brown macroalgae significantly support the Arctic benthic food web. Multi-biomarker approaches can be used to determine the diet of benthic organisms and track temporal variability in sources of food. It therefore appears to be an interesting method to study food regime strategies in response to changing primary production dynamics.


KEY WORDS: Trophic ecology · Stable isotopes · Fatty acid trophic markers · Compound-specific stable isotope analysis · Sub-Arctic fjord · Bivalve


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Cite this article as: Gaillard B, Meziane T, Tremblay R, Archambault P and others (2017) Food resources of the bivalve Astarte elliptica in a sub-Arctic fjord: a multi-biomarker approach. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 567:139-156. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12036

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