Inter-Research > MEPS > v478 > feature  
Marine Ecology Progress Series

via Mailchimp
MEPS - Vol. 478 - Feature article
Biomarker signatures in intertidal and subtidal macroalgae and seagrasses may vary considerably in space and time. Photo: Aaron Galloway

Dethier MN, Sosik E, Galloway AWE, Duggins DO, Simenstad CA


Addressing assumptions: variation in stable isotopes and fatty acids of marine macrophytes can confound conclusions of food web studies


Research on food webs increasingly relies on sampling biomarkers (stable isotopes and fatty acids) in consumers and their food, and analyses are based on the assumption that biomarker signatures are stable in space and time. Dethier and co-workers found that macroalgal and seagrass biomarkers are relatively consistent at the phylum level, but that variation across dates and sites is fairly high at the species level. The importance of this ‘noise’ in biomarker values was tested with Bayesian mixing models. The accuracy of the predicted vs. the simulated diet depended strongly on the initial assumptions and improved with increasing number of biomarker variables. Exploring natural variability in diet should provide better insights into ecosystem dynamics.


Inter-Research Science Publisher is pleased to make this Feature Article openly available for viewing by our readers.


Abstract   Back to contents page   Link to full PDF