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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 655:1-27 (2020)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13524

FEATURE ARTICLE
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

Luciana Riccialdelli1,*, Yamila A. Becker1, Nicolás E. Fioramonti1, Mónica Torres1, Daniel O. Bruno1,2, Andrea Raya Rey1,2,3, Daniel A. Fernández1,2

1Centro Austral de Investigaciones Científicas (CADIC), Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CON ICET), Bernardo A. Houssay 200, V9410CAB Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina
2Instituto de Ciencias Polares, Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (ICPA), Universidad Nacional de Tierra del Fuego (UNTDF), Fuegia Basket 251, V9410CAB Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina
3Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Representación Argentina, Amenabar 1595, C1526AKC Buenos Aires, Argentina
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Understanding the structure and functioning of marine ecosystems has become a critical issue to assess the potential short- and long-term effects of natural and anthropogenic impacts and to determine the knowledge needed to conduct appropriate conservation actions. This goal can be achieved in part by acquiring more detailed food web information and evaluating the processes that shape food web structure and dynamics. Our main objective was to identify large-scale patterns in the organization of pelagic food webs that can be linked to a wasp-waist (WW) structure, proposed for the southwestern South Atlantic Ocean. We evaluated 3 sub-Antarctic marine areas in a regional context: the Beagle Channel (BC), the Atlantic coast of Tierra del Fuego (CA) and the oceanic Burdwood Bank area (BB). We used carbon and nitrogen isotopic information of all functional trophic groups, ranging from primary producers to top predators, and analyzed them through stable isotope-based Bayesian analyses. We found that BC and BB have a more pronounced WW structure compared to CA. We identified species at mid to low trophic positions that play a key role in the trophodynamics of each marine area (e.g. Fuegian sprat Sprattus fuegensis, longtail southern cod Patagonotothen ramsayi and squat lobster Munida gregaria) and considered them as the most plausible WW species. The identification of the most influential species within food webs has become a crucial task for conservation purposes in local and regional contexts to maintain ecosystem integrity and the supply of ecosystem services for the southwestern South Atlantic Ocean.


KEY WORDS: Pelagic food web · Wasp-waist structure · δ13C · δ15N · MPA Namuncurá-Burdwood Bank · Beagle Channel · Tierra del Fuego


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Cite this article as: Riccialdelli L, Becker YA, Fioramonti NE, Torres M, Bruno DO, Raya Rey A, Fernández DA (2020) 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. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 655:1-27. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13524

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