Trophic relationships and basal resource utilisation in the Can Gio Mangrove Biosphere Reserve (Southern Vietnam)

Abstract : Fatty acid biomarkers and dual stable isotopes (δ13C and δ15N) were used to identify the preferred food sources of consumers in a mangrove tidal creek and nearby unforested (mud bank) and forested areas located in the Can Gio Mangrove Biosphere Reserve (Southern Vietnam). We analysed 15 macro-invertebrates and 1 fish species representing primary consumers and their immediate predators in this area. Specific groups of fatty acids were used to trace the fate of various food sources (i.e., suspended particulate organic matter, mangrove litter and sedimentary organic matter). The δ13C and δ15N of consumers ranged from −26.9 to −18.8‰ and from 1.1 to 9.9‰, respectively. The trophic pathway based on mangrove litter, characteristic of mangrove ecosystems, is nutritionally sustaining various crab and snail species. In contrast, it appears that the most mobile species (fish and shrimps), living in the water column and possibly migrating with tides, are mostly feeding on suspended particulate organic matter, suggesting that this trophic pathway is of great importance for connectivity among tropical coastal ecosystems. Our study suggests that snails and crabs mainly act as mineralisers, processing high quantities of detrital material to meet their nutritional needs and thus releasing nutrients through the production of faeces, that are further mineralised by microorganisms, while locally grown phytoplankton reintegrates these compounds into its biomass and feeds migrating species. We highlight here a possible link between mangrove litter and coastal food webs.
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Frank David, Cyril Marchand, Nguyen Thành-Nho, Vinh Truong Van, Pierre Taillardat, et al.. Trophic relationships and basal resource utilisation in the Can Gio Mangrove Biosphere Reserve (Southern Vietnam). Journal of Sea Research, Elsevier, 2019, 145, pp.35-43. ⟨10.1016/j.seares.2018.12.006⟩. ⟨hal-02188751⟩

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