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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 656:109-121 (2020)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13391

Temporal succession of a macrofaunal community associated with kelp fragment accumulations in an in situ experiment

Florian de Bettignies1,*, Patrick Dauby2, Gilles Lepoint3, Pascal Riera1, Enora Bocher1, Olivier Bohner1, Caroline Broudin4, Céline Houbin4, Cédric Leroux4, Stéphane Loisel1, Dominique Davoult1

1Sorbonne Université, CNRS, UMR 7144 AD2M, Station Biologique de Roscoff, Place Georges Teissier, 29680 Roscoff, France
2University of Liège, FOCUS unit, Systematics and Animal Diversity, Sart Tilman B6c, 4000 Liège, Belgium
3University of Liège, FOCUS unit, Oceanology, Sart Tilman B6c, 4000 Liège, Belgium
4Sorbonne Université, CNRS, FR2424, Station Biologique de Roscoff, Place Georges Teissier, 29680 Roscoff, France
*Corresponding author:
Advance View was available online July 23, 2020

ABSTRACT: A large part of the production of Laminaria hyperborea kelp forests is not directly consumed by grazers, but is exported during storm events or natural annual blade erosion. Drifting kelp fragments are transported and can accumulate temporarily over subtidal benthic habitats. The decay process is particularly slow (>6 mo for complete decay during spring-summer) and L. hyperborea fragments are able to maintain their primary production function for several months. If they accumulate in low subtidal habitats, fragments can have a long residence time, thus modifying habitat structure. Based on a 6 mo cage experiment, we investigated macrofaunal colonization and community succession within accumulations of L. hyperborea fragments on a low subtidal (-10 m) sandy bottom ecosystem. Stable isotope (δ13C and δ15N) measurements were carried out to describe the structure and development of the trophic food web and the role of detritus as a food source. Kelp tissues were rapidly and abundantly colonized by macrofauna, and a classical ecological succession occurred, with changes in species dominance and increase in diversity during decay. The food web was based on 2 main sources: particulate organic matter from the water column and decaying kelp tissues. Kelp contributed significantly to the diet of numerous species that are commonly consumed by local predators (fish, shrimp). Following community succession, diets diversified and the food web became more complex during the decay process. Our results indicate that drift kelp accumulations structure their associated communities and food web during the whole decay process.


KEY WORDS: Kelp · Degradation · Macrofauna · Community · Detritus · Food web · Stable Isotopes · In situ experiment


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Cite this article as: de Bettignies F, Dauby P, Lepoint G, Riera P and others (2020) Temporal succession of a macrofaunal community associated with kelp fragment accumulations in an in situ experiment. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 656:109-121. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13391

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