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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 652:137-144 (2020)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13475

Trophic hierarchy of coastal marine fish communities viewed via compound-specific isotope analysis of amino acids

Daochao Xing1, Bohyung Choi2, Yuko Takizawa3, Rong Fan3,4,5, Satoshi Sugaya6, Masashi Tsuchiya7, Naohiko Ohkouchi7, Yoshito Chikaraishi3,7,*

1Graduate School of Environmental Science, Hokkaido University, Kita-10, Nishi-5, Kita-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido 060-0810, Japan
2Department of Marine Sciences and Convergent Technology, Hanyang University, Ansan 15588, ROK
3Institute of Low Temperature Science, Hokkaido University, Kita-19, Nishi-8, Kita-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido 060-0819, Japan
4College of Urban and Environmental Science, Northwest University, Xi’an, Shaanxi 710069, PR China
5Shaanxi Key Laboratory of Earth Surface System and Environmental Carrying Capacity, Northwest University, Xi’an, Shaanxi 710127, PR China
6Department of Fishery Science, Hokkaido University, Hakodate, Hokkaido 041-8611, Japan
7Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, 2-15 Natushima-cho, Yokosuka, Kanagawa 237-0061, Japan
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Coastal marine ecosystems are very complex and composed of myriad organisms, including offshore, coastal, and migratory fish occupying diverse trophic positions (TPs) in food webs. The illustration of trophic hierarchy based on the TP and resource utilization of individual organisms remains challenging. In this study, we applied compound-specific isotope analysis of amino acids to estimate the TP and isotopic baseline (i.e. δ15N values of primary resources at the base of food webs) for 13 fish and 1 squid species in a coastal area of Sagami Bay, Japan, where a large diversity in the isotopic baseline is caused by an admixture of ocean currents and artificial nitrogen inputs. Our results indicate that the TP of fish and squid varies between 2.9 and 3.9 (i.e. omnivorous, carnivorous, and tertiary consumers), with low variation within individual species. Moreover, the δ15N values of phenylalanine revealed the diversity of isotopic baselines between and within species. Low values (7.8-10.3‰) and high values (18.6-19.2‰), with a small variation (1σ < 1.0‰), were found in 2 offshore species and 3 coastal species, respectively. In contrast, highly variable values (9.8-19.7‰), with large variation within species (1σ > 1.0‰), were found for the remaining 9 migratory species. These results represent evidence of differential trophic exploitation of habitats between offshore and coastal species, particularly among individuals of migratory species, that were all collected in a single area of Sagami Bay.


KEY WORDS: Trophic position · Habitat · Food web · Nutrient input · Compound-specific isotope analysis · Amino acids · Nitrogen isotope


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Cite this article as: Xing D, Choi B, Takizawa Y, Fan R and others (2020) Trophic hierarchy of coastal marine fish communities viewed via compound-specific isotope analysis of amino acids. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 652:137-144. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13475

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