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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 706:57-71 (2023)  -  DOI:

Channelling of basal resources and use of allochthonous marine carbon by soil arthropods of the Wadden Sea salt marsh

Maria Rinke1,*, Kertu Lõhmus2, Daniela Pieck3, Mark Maraun1, Stefan Scheu1,4

1JF Blumenbach Institute of Zoology and Anthropology, Animal Ecology, University of Göttingen, Untere Karspüle 2, 37073 Göttingen, Germany
2Institute of Biology and Environmental Sciences, University of Oldenburg, 26129 Oldenburg, Germany
3Institute for Chemistry and Biology of the Marine Environment (ICBM), University of Oldenburg, 26129 Oldenburg, Germany
4Centre of Biodiversity and Sustainable Land Use, University of Göttingen, Büsgenweg 1, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Salt marshes are located between the marine and terrestrial systems. Because they form as sediment accumulates, they comprise a gradient of shore height with differing inundation frequencies and associated abiotic soil conditions. Along this gradient, both autochthonous vascular plant resources and allochthonous marine algal or detrital resources are available, with the availability of both varying with season and salt marsh zone. However, little is known about the importance of either resource for the soil-animal food web. We investigated both spatial and temporal resource use of soil macro- and mesofauna in a salt marsh using neutral lipid fatty acid (NLFA) analysis. Generally, irrespective of season and zone, the soil-animal food web relied on carbon originating from autochthonous vascular plants and associated bacteria and fungi, with the role of bacteria generally exceeding that of fungi. However, the channelling of fungal resources consistently peaked in October, whereas seasonal changes in the channelling of plant and bacterial resources varied among salt marsh zones. Further, variations in the channelling of resources with season and zone varied among salt marsh animal species. Allochthonous resources of marine origin provided only a minor contribution to soil food web nutrition across salt marsh zones and seasons. The contribution of algae to soil food web nutrition depended on inundation frequency and season, i.e. algal productivity. Overall, the results demonstrate that the salt marsh soil fauna predominantly relies on autochthonous vascular plant resources, with the contribution of allochthonous marine resources being minor and restricted to a few taxa.

KEY WORDS: Soil food web · Soil fauna · Spatiotemporal resource use · Resource channelling · Allochthonous resources · Autochthonous resources · Neutral lipid fatty acids

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Cite this article as: Rinke M, Lõhmus K, Pieck D, Maraun M, Scheu S (2023) Channelling of basal resources and use of allochthonous marine carbon by soil arthropods of the Wadden Sea salt marsh. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 706:57-71.

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