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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 522:203-218 (2015)  -  DOI:

Available Benthic Energy Coefficient (ABEC): a generic tool to estimate the food profitability in coastal fish nurseries

A. Tableau1,2,*, H. Le Bris1, A. Brind’Amour2

1Agrocampus Ouest, UMR 985 Ecologie et Santé des Écosystèmes, 65 rue de Saint Brieuc, CS 84215, 35042 Rennes Cedex, France
2Département Ecologie et Modèles pour l’Halieutique, IFREMER, rue de l’Île d’Yeu, BP 21105, 44311 Nantes Cedex 03, France
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The benthic production of prey seems to be one of the main drivers among many environmental factors that influence the quality of fish nurseries and potentially limit their carrying capacity. However, the contribution of food availability in the growth and survival of juveniles is still controversial. The Available Benthic Energy Coefficient (ABEC) aims to assess the trophic profitability of benthic invertebrate prey; this concept reflects the combination of energy richness and availability of prey. A value of the coefficient was associated with each prey species. This value was calculated from the product of 4 components: (1) mass energy, (2) productivity, (3) regeneration, and (4) accessibility. Thus, this coefficient is expressed as a quantity of energy per unit of weight and per year. From this coefficient, it is simple to calculate the annual production of profitable energy for the fish community in a delimited nursery; it only needs information about the biomass of benthic invertebrates via a standard sampling method. This tool appears to be decisive in properly estimating the carrying capacity of such a fish nursery. Prey classifications based on taxonomy or trophic guilds are widely used in predator-prey studies; comparison with a classification based on ABEC highlighted the energetic heterogeneity of these groups. ABEC can also be used as an index of profitable energy, thereby substituting the usual classifications of prey in trophic studies.

KEY WORDS: Predator-prey relationship · Secondary production · Prey availability · Demersal fish · Nursery habitat · Carrying capacity · Bioenergetics

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Cite this article as: Tableau A, Le Bris H, Brind’Amour A (2015) Available Benthic Energy Coefficient (ABEC): a generic tool to estimate the food profitability in coastal fish nurseries. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 522:203-218.

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