Shahraki, M., Fry, B., Krumme, U. and Rixen, Tim (2014) Microphytobenthos sustain fish food webs in intertidal arid habitats: A comparison between mangrove-lined and un-vegetated creeks in the Persian Gulf. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 149 . pp. 203-212. DOI

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The dietary importance of mangroves for fish production often seems to be minor. However, robust comparisons of fish food webs at mangrove vs. non-mangrove sites are largely lacking. We analyzed stable carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) isotope values of dominant fishes (in terms of abundance) and their potential food sources in summer and winter from arid mangrove-lined and un-vegetated intertidal creeks in Qeshm Island, Persian Gulf, Northern Indian Ocean (26.8°N, 55.75°E). Detritivores Liza klunzingeri (47%) and Anodontostoma chacunda (34%) dominated the abundance at the un-vegetated site; at the mangrove site L. klunzingeri (41%) also dominated, while the zooplanktivores Leiognathus daura (18%), Thryssa vitrirostris (8%) and macrobenthivores Pentaprion longimanus (10%), Acanthopagrus latus (4%) also contributed. There was high dietary reliance by fish on food items associated with non-mangrove sources as indicated by 2 source mixing models. Mangrove-derived organic matter contributed a maximum of 36% to the fish tissue whereas organic matter produced by microphytobenthos and plankton played a major role in the diet of the most abundant fish species with contributions of 64–100%. Two trophic pathways, a pelagic pathway and a benthic pathway, were present in the fish food webs at both sites. The pelagic and benthic food sources of the un-vegetated site were 13C-enriched, consistent with stronger contributions of abundant benthic cyanobacteria found within that food web. Spatial δ13C variation of microphytobenthos and plankton was also reflected in the δ13C values of the feeding guilds and some fish species, suggesting that fish were relatively resident at each site. The isotope values of most food sources and fish did not differ significantly between seasons. Overall, regardless of habitat type and season, microphytobenthos and plankton largely sustained fishes in this region while mangroves, where present, were of minor importance. Our results suggest both mangrove and un-vegetated sites act as feeding grounds for fishes via pelagic and benthic food pathways in this arid region.

Document Type: Article
Programme Area: UNSPECIFIED
Research affiliation: Ecology > Mangrove Ecology
Biogeochemistry and Geology > Carbon and Nutrient Cycling
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
ISSN: 02727714
Date Deposited: 09 Aug 2019 16:54
Last Modified: 26 Mar 2024 13:29

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