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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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The Southwestern Atlantic Ocean has a large number of species linked by an intermediate trophic level with a few biological components of ecological importance. Image: Luciana Riccialdelli

Riccialdelli L, Becker YA, Fioramonti NE, Torres M, Bruno DO, Raya Rey A, Fernández DA


Trophic structure of southern marine ecosystems: a comparative isotopic analysis from the Beagle Channel to the oceanic Burdwood Bank area under a wasp-waist assumption


The Southwest Atlantic Ocean food webs are organized around small pelagic and benthopelagic species with a wasp-waist (ww) structure. We used a large isotopic data set from primary producers to top predators to identify large-scale patterns in the organization of 3 pelagic food webs showing a ww-structure. Results indicated that the MPA Naumuncurá-Burdwood Bank and the Beagle Channel had a more pronounced ww-structure than the Atlantic coast of Tierra del Fuego. The Fuegian sprat, the longtail southern cod and the squat lobster were considered as the most influential species in both local and regional context. A long-term plan for managing biodiversity loss should particularly focus on the protection of these species but also consider other relevant key areas such as spawning and nursery areas.


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