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Trophic structure of two intertidal Fucus spp. communities along a vertical gradient: Similarity and seasonal stability evidenced with δ13C and δ15N

Abstract : Intertidal communities dominated by canopy-forming macroalgae typically exhibit some differences in their specific composition that are related to their location along the emersion gradient of rocky shores. Tidal level is also expected to affect resource availability for both primary producers and consumers, potentially leading to divergence in the trophic structure of these communities. Furthermore, in temperate areas, the alternation of seasons has usually a large influence on the primary production and on life-history traits of numerous species, which may induce some changes in the food webs of intertidal communities. Thus, this study aimed to investigate the trophic structure of two intertidal communities located at different tidal levels, over several seasons. Focusing on the dominant species of primary producers and consumers, the food webs of the Fucus vesiculosus Linnaeus and Fucus serratus Linnaeus communities were studied during four successive seasons, using an isotopic (δ13C and δ15N) approach. Due to the diversity of primary producers and consumers living in these two communities, food webs were relatively complex and composed of several trophic pathways. These food webs remained rather conserved over the successive seasons, even though some variability in isotopic signature and in diet has been highlighted for several species. Finally, despite their location at different tidal levels, the two Fucus spp. communities exhibited nearly the same trophic structure, with common consumer species displaying similar isotopic signature in both of them.
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François Bordeyne, Dominique Davoult, Aline Migné, Euriell Bertaud Du Chazaud, Cédric Leroux, et al.. Trophic structure of two intertidal Fucus spp. communities along a vertical gradient: Similarity and seasonal stability evidenced with δ13C and δ15N. Journal of Sea Research, Elsevier, 2017, 120, pp.50-59. ⟨10.1016/j.seares.2016.12.004⟩. ⟨hal-01501391⟩

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