References of "Gobert, Sylvie"
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See detailTowards a framework for assessment and management of cumulative human impacts on marine food webs
Giakoumi, Sylvaine; Halpern, Benjamin S.; Michel, Loïc ULg et al

in Conservation Biology (in press)

Effective ecosystem-based management requires understanding ecosystem responses to multiple human threats, rather than focusing on single threats. To understand ecosystem responses to anthropogenic ... [more ▼]

Effective ecosystem-based management requires understanding ecosystem responses to multiple human threats, rather than focusing on single threats. To understand ecosystem responses to anthropogenic threats holistically, it is necessary to know how threats affect different components within ecosystems and ultimately alter ecosystem functioning. We used a case study of a Mediterranean seagrass (Posidonia oceanica) food web and expert knowledge elicitation in an application of the initial steps of a framework for assessment of cumulative human impacts on food webs. We produced a conceptual seagrass food web model, determined the main trophic relationships, identified the main threats to the food web components, and assessed the components’ vulnerability to those threats. Some threats had high (e.g., coastal infrastructure) or low impacts (e.g., agricultural runoff) on all food web components, whereas others (e.g., introduced carnivores) had very different impacts on each component. Partitioning the ecosystem into its components enabled us to identify threats previously overlooked and to reevaluate the importance of threats commonly perceived as major. By incorporating this understanding of system vulnerability with data on changes in the state of each threat (e.g., decreasing domestic pollution and increasing fishing) into a food web model, managers may be better able to estimate and predict cumulative human impacts on ecosystems and to prioritize conservation actions. [less ▲]

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See detailDominant amphipods of Posidonia oceanica seagrass meadows display considerable trophic diversity
Michel, Loïc ULg; Dauby, Patrick ULg; Gobert, Sylvie ULg et al

in Marine Ecology (in press)

Gut content examination and trophic markers (fatty acids, stables isotopes of C and N) were combined to delineate the diet of the dominant species of amphipods from Mediterranean Posidonia oceanica ... [more ▼]

Gut content examination and trophic markers (fatty acids, stables isotopes of C and N) were combined to delineate the diet of the dominant species of amphipods from Mediterranean Posidonia oceanica seagrass meadows and to highlight trophic diversity among this community. Our results indicate that, although all dominant species heavily relied on macroalgal epiphytes, considerable interspecific dietary differences existed. Carbon stable isotope ratios notably showed that some of the amphipod species favored grazing on epiphytes from leaves or litter fragments (Apherusa chiereghinii, Aora spinicornis, Gammarus aequicauda), while others like Dexamine spiniventris preferred epiphytes from rhizomes. The remaining amphipods (Caprella acanthifera, Ampithoe helleri and Gammarella fucicola) readily consumed both groups. In addition, SIAR modeling suggested that most species had a mixed diet, and relied on several food items. Fatty acid analysis and gut contents revealed that contribution of microepiphytic diatoms and of benthic and suspended particulate organic matter to the diet of amphipods were anecdotal. None of the examined species seemed to graze on their seagrass host (low 18:2(n-6) and 18:3(n-3) fatty acids contents), but G. aequicauda partly relied on seagrass leaf detritus, as demonstrated by the lesser 13C-depletion of their tissues. Overall, our findings suggest that amphipods, because of their importance in transfers of organic matter from primary producers and detritus to higher rank consumers, are key-items in P. oceanica associated food webs. [less ▲]

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See detailBioassessment of trace element contamination of Mediterranean coastal waters using the seagrass Posidonia oceanica
Richir, Jonathan ULg; Salivas-Decaux, Maÿlis; Lafabrie, Céline et al

in Journal of Environmental Management (2015), 150

A large scale survey of the trace element (TE) contamination of Mediterranean coastal waters was performed from the analysis of Ag, As, Cd, Cu, Hg, Ni and Pb in the bioindicator Posidonia oceanica ... [more ▼]

A large scale survey of the trace element (TE) contamination of Mediterranean coastal waters was performed from the analysis of Ag, As, Cd, Cu, Hg, Ni and Pb in the bioindicator Posidonia oceanica, sampled at 110 sites differing by their levels of exposure to contaminants. The holistic approach developed in this study, based on the combined utilization of several complementary monitoring tools, i.e. water quality scale, pollution index and spatial analysis, accurately assessed the TE contamination rate of Mediterranean coastal waters. In particular, the mapping of the TE contamination according to a new proposed 5-level water quality scale precisely outlined the contamination severity along Mediterranean coasts and facilitated interregional comparisons. Finally, the reliability of the use of P. oceanica as bioindicator species was again demonstrated through several global, regional and local detailed case studies. NB: The designations employed and the presentation of the information in thisdocument do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the authors concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. [less ▲]

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See detailAcoustic monitoring of O2 production of a seagrass meadow
Felisberto, Paulo; Jesus, Sérgio M.; Zabel, Friedrich et al

in Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology (2015), 464(0), 75-87

Acoustic data were acquired in October 2011 over a Posidonia oceanica meadow in the Bay of la Revellata, Calvi, Corsica. The purpose was to develop an acoustic system for monitoring the oxygen (O2 ... [more ▼]

Acoustic data were acquired in October 2011 over a Posidonia oceanica meadow in the Bay of la Revellata, Calvi, Corsica. The purpose was to develop an acoustic system for monitoring the oxygen (O2) production of an entire seagrass meadow. In a shallow water area (b38 m), densely covered by P. oceanica, a sound source transmitted signals in 3 different bands (400–800 Hz, 1.5–3.5 kHz and 6.5–8.5 kHz) toward three self-recording hydrophones at a distance of 100 m, over the period of oneweek. The data showa high correlation between the diel cycle of the acoustic signals' energy received by the hydrophones and the temporal changes in water column O2 concentration as measured by optodes. The results thus show that a simple acoustic acquisition system can be used to monitor the O2-based productivity of a seagrass meadow at the ecosystem level with high temporal resolution. The finding of a significant production of O2 as bubbles in seagrass ecosystems suggests that net primary production is underestimated by methods that rely on the mass balance of dissolved O2 measurements. [less ▲]

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See detailMultiscale variability of amphipod assemblages in Posidonia oceanica meadows
Sturaro, Nicolas ULg; Lepoint, Gilles ULg; Vermeulen, Simon et al

in Journal of Sea Research (2015), 95

The study of spatial patterns is of ecological importance in order to understand the causes of the distribution and abundance of organisms, and it also provides valuable basis for management and ... [more ▼]

The study of spatial patterns is of ecological importance in order to understand the causes of the distribution and abundance of organisms, and it also provides valuable basis for management and conservation. Amphipod crustaceans are key organisms in seagrass ecosystems. However, little attention has been paid to the spatial scales at which amphipod assemblages may vary. We examined variability patterns of amphipod populations inhabiting Posidonia oceanica meadows, over spatial scales spanning four orders of magnitude (1 to 1000 metres) and for two consecutive years. This study reports the scales that contributed most to spatial variation of amphipod assemblages and explores the potential processes of the observed patterns, with particular emphasis on habitat features. The number of species, the diversity and the density of some species, exhibited high variation across years. Most species showed the highest spatial variation in density and biomass at small scales (~1 and 10 m). Based on density data, the structure of amphipod assemblages did not differ at any scales investigated. The patchiness that occurred at small scales may have been only weakly related to habitat features. Instead, we postulated that behavioural processes of amphipods were likely good explanatory factors. Although, the small scale spatial variability can be an important feature of amphipod assemblages in P. oceanica meadows, many patterns probably remained undetected as they may occur at scales smaller than those investigated. [less ▲]

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See detailSeasonal sampling and stable isotopes use to delineate seagrass phytodetritus macrofauna trophic ecology: baseline variation or actual diet change?
Remy, François ULg; Mascart, Thibaud ULg; Dauby, Patrick ULg et al

Conference (2014, December 12)

In Mediterranean exported seagrass macrophytodetritus accumulations, a diverse (more than 130 species) and abundant (up to 4900 id.m-2) macrofauna assemblage is found alongside meiofauna, microalgae ... [more ▼]

In Mediterranean exported seagrass macrophytodetritus accumulations, a diverse (more than 130 species) and abundant (up to 4900 id.m-2) macrofauna assemblage is found alongside meiofauna, microalgae, fungi and bacteria. Macrophytodetritus are mainly composed of poorly digestible yet highly colonized material: the dead leaves of the very productive (300 to 2000 g dry wt m-2 yr-1) endemic seagrass Posidonia oceanica. A key role may be played by macrofauna, and more particularly by litter vagile macroinvertebrates (invertebrates > 500µm), in the degradation, enrichment and carbon transfer from P. oceanica to coastal food webs. Indeed, results of gut content observations of the most abundant species show that even if only a few of these species ingest a large proportion of P.oceanica dead leaves fragments, most of the others ingest a small but non-negligible part, suggesting a potential role of the whole community in the mechanical fragmentation of the dead leaves. Mediterranean exported macrophytodetritus accumulations are very dynamic habitats with very variable food availability, quality, and composition. Such an inconstant habitat may result in drastic modifications of the invertebrate community but also of its trophic structure and ecology. To test this hypothesis of influence of pulsed availability, quality and composition of food sources on the vagile macrofauna diet, we took seasonal samples in Calvi Bay (Corsica, 8°45’E; 42°35’N), at two sites between August 2011 and May 2012. Gut content observations and C/N/S stable isotope analysis of bulk tissues were conducted on both the macrofauna and their potential food sources. Significant seasonal and spatial differences of ingestion patterns of the most abundant species were emphasised as were differences of isotopic signatures. “SIAR” Bayesian mixing model and “SIBER” package were used to analyse isotopic data and determine if these differences were due to actual diet modifications or only to baselines isotopic composition variations. [less ▲]

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See detailTaxonomic sufficiency for soft-bottom macrozoobenthos long term study - A case study in corsica
Donnay, Annick ULg; Pelaprat, Corinne; Lejeune, Pierre et al

Poster (2014, December)

Nowadays, the knowledge of the marine ecological quality status of an environment is essential and soft-bottom macrobenthos is one of the indicators used. Studies of soft-bottom macrobenthos are time ... [more ▼]

Nowadays, the knowledge of the marine ecological quality status of an environment is essential and soft-bottom macrobenthos is one of the indicators used. Studies of soft-bottom macrobenthos are time consuming and need expertise for organisms’ identification. Simplifications of these studies are tried and Taxonomic Sufficiency (TS) proposed by Ellis (1985) is one of research axes. For example, some studies highlight that family level identification could be sufficient to identify perturbed area (e.g: Bacci et al., 2009; De-La-Ossa-Carretero et al., 2012; Forde et al., 2013). Nevertheless, identification at species level could be recommended to have more precise information about the existing situation (Ajmal Khan, 2006) or to complete information from others levels (Conde et al., 2013). In Corsican waters where human impacts are less important than in main land waters, we present TS based on STARESO research studies between 2006 and 2012. This work is within the frameworks of the STARE-CAPMED program dedicated to STAtion of Reference and rEsearch on Change of local and global Anthropogenic Pressures on Mediterranean Ecosystem Drifts. After Permanova analysis and Canonical analysis of principal coordinates, eight habitat types have been identified along Corsican coastal water. Their own reference conditions and ecological class boundaries have been evaluated. Those reference conditions and ecological status have been identified for species, genus and family level. A highly significant correlation of calculated values between species and genus levels (R²=0.93) has been determined and a significant correlation between species and family level (R²=0.75). Genus and family levels have a significant Spearman correlation with species level (p<0.05). An application of these reference conditions on the macrobenthos assemblages sampling on 14 stations in spring 2011 and late summer 2012 in Calvi Bay highlights areas with high, good or moderate ecological status. In conclusion, family level is sufficient to follow spatial and/or temporal ecological status. [less ▲]

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See detailImpact of shading on meiofauna in a Posidonia oceanica meadow
Pete, Dorothée ULg; Gobert, Sylvie ULg

Poster (2014, December)

Posidonia oceanica meadow is an endemic ecosystem of the Mediterranean coasts. A known threat to this ecosystem is aquaculture. In zones of intensive fish production, P. oceanica meadow tends to be less ... [more ▼]

Posidonia oceanica meadow is an endemic ecosystem of the Mediterranean coasts. A known threat to this ecosystem is aquaculture. In zones of intensive fish production, P. oceanica meadow tends to be less healthy or to disappear .One of the reasons for this is a decrease in the light that reaches the leaves (direct shading, increase of water turbidity or of epiphytic algae density). Unfortunately, when the meadow begins to die, it is often too late to act. So, people are trying to find indicators that react early to this kind of perturbations. In this framework, this study focuses on the impact of shading (without nutrient enrichment) on the meiofauna living in the surface sediment of a P. oceanica meadow. An in situ shading experiment was led from the end of May to the end of August 2009, at a depth of 10 m, in a reference P. oceanica meadow. Three shading nets were put in the meadow to reach a light extinction of 50%. A control site was also defined. The first two centimetres of sampled sediment cores were studied. After three months of shading, the total abundance of meiofauna at the shading site was lower than at the beginning of the experiment, while it stayed around the same level at the control site. This difference is mainly due to a decrease in the total number of foraminiferans, nematods, gnathostomulids, copepods and bivalves. However, no significant difference in diversity was observed. At the end of this experiment, it appeared that, contrarily to what is mostly said in the literature, the direct organic enrichment that occurs at fish farms is not the only reason to the modification of the meiofauna communities of the ecosystem. The shading by itself has also an effect. [less ▲]

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See detailTrace element kinetics in caged Mytilus galloprovincialis
Richir, Jonathan ULg; Lepoint, Gilles ULg; Donnay, Annick et al

Poster (2014, December)

Trace elements (TEs) remain contaminants of concern because of their persistence, ability to concentrate in organisms and toxicity. The Mediterranean mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis Lamarck, 1819 is a ... [more ▼]

Trace elements (TEs) remain contaminants of concern because of their persistence, ability to concentrate in organisms and toxicity. The Mediterranean mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis Lamarck, 1819 is a relevant bioindicator of TE coastal contamination. However, little research has studied the combined influence of environmental condition changes and physiological processes on their kinetics in that species. Caged M. galloprovincialis were thus immerged in 2 contrasted pristine Corsican (France) coastal environments, the semi-enclosed Diane salty pond and the open Calvi Bay, from February to June 2011. Mussels were regularly sampled to study the kinetics of 19 TEs in their flesh; dissolved and particulate TEs were also monitored. The primary production and the water physico-chemical variables were measured, and meteorological data were purchased from Météo-France. TE kinetics in mussels differed between sites. Mussel spawning, a temperature and saline-induced physiological process that occurred about 10 days later in the Diane pond, was followed by a short time increase of TE levels in the mussel flesh. Mussel contamination also evolved according to changes of their respective environmental TE levels. Raining events temporary led, in the Diane pond, to the water enrichment with TEs, nutrients and detrital material, to peaks of primary production and to the increase of TE concentrations in the mussel flesh. This step by step evolution of TE levels in the environment and mussels was afterwards followed by a rapid return to initial conditions. In the open Calvi Bay, these fast and balanced kinetics were not so obvious, because of the rapid dilution of environmental constrain effects in the Bay. Mussels are often used as bioindicator in estuaries and coastal enclosed meadows with rapidly changing environmental conditions. In such conditions, the influence of the environment on TE kinetics in mussels must be considered, in addition to physiological processes, when monitoring the TE coastal contamination. [less ▲]

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See detailEcology of 20 trace elements in Mytilus galloprovincialis
Richir, Jonathan ULg; Lepoint, Gilles ULg; Lejeune, Pierre et al

Conference (2014, December)

Trace elements (TEs) are considered as non-degradable pollutants. This persistent character can alter their natural biogeochemical balance in contaminated environments. TEs are further toxic for aquatic ... [more ▼]

Trace elements (TEs) are considered as non-degradable pollutants. This persistent character can alter their natural biogeochemical balance in contaminated environments. TEs are further toxic for aquatic organisms from threshold levels and are thus likely to cause multiple damages to the population, the community and the ecosystem levels. For these reasons, their environmental occurrence has to be accurately monitored. The main interest of the use of quantitative sentinel organisms to this end, or bioindicator species, is their capacity to give information on the bioavailability of environmental contaminants. Mussels from the genus Mytilus are particularly well suited organisms for the monitoring of the coastal contamination. Native wild and cultured Mytilus galloprovincialis Lamarck, 1819 have been widely used since around 40 years to this purpose along coasts of the eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean. But the accurate use of a bioindicator relies on the detailed knowledge of its ecophysiology and the influence of environmental variables on the bioaccumulation processes. In the framework of the STARECAPMED project, the ecology of 20 TEs in M. galloprovincialis is therefore investigated. The mussel morphometry and biology firstly define the TE accumulation processes. Accumulated TE are internally regulated and redistributed between body compartments; these internal processes notably depend on the essential or non-essential character of TEs. As filter feeder, mussels accumulate soluble and suspended TEs whose environmental levels are determined by the geomorphology, the physico-chemistry and the hydrology of monitored coastal meadows. All these factors are acting together to modulate the TE accumulation processes in mussels. TE bioaccumulated levels further balance quickly when any physiological or environmental changes occur in order to reach a new steady-state with environmental TE loads. The ecology of TEs in M. galloprovincialis is thus complex and very dynamic; these considerations must be taken into account when monitoring the chemical contamination of coastal meadows. [less ▲]

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See detailThe conceptualization of trace element flows within Posidonia oceanica meadows: a collaborative proposal to fill knowledge gaps
Richir, Jonathan ULg; Gobert, Sylvie ULg

in Langar, H.; Bouafif, C.; Ouerghi, A. (Eds.) Proceedings of the 5th Mediterranean Symposium on Marine Vegetation (2014, October)

The Mediterranean seagrass Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile is regarded as a relevant indicator of bioavailable trace elements (TEs) since it efficiently and proportionally bioaccumulates these chemicals ... [more ▼]

The Mediterranean seagrass Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile is regarded as a relevant indicator of bioavailable trace elements (TEs) since it efficiently and proportionally bioaccumulates these chemicals from its surrounding environment. Recent studies have further brought supplementary insights in our understanding of the processes driving TE kinetics within that species. But at a higher degree of organization, the distribution and flows of TEs between P. oceanica meadow components, i.e. seagrass shoots, epiphytes, associated algae and animals and detritus, have not been investigated yet. The present study therefore aims to propose a conceptualization model of P. oceanica meadows, regarded as the juxtaposition of the 5 separate components listed above exchanging flows of TEs between themselves and with their environment, i.e. water and sediment. This model can be drawn in energy circuit language. By writing such a model, one in essence is writing equations describing a system. To be relevant, its elaboration requires the compilation of a large amount of quantitative data. This conceptualization can thus be regarded as a collaborative innovation requiring scientists to fill the model through the continuous supplement of new data. In fine, this model will lead to the exact quantification of the role played by P. oceanica meadows in the coastal biogeochemistry of TEsin the Mediterranean. [less ▲]

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See detailTrace element bioaccumulation and compartmentalization in the invasive algae Caulerpa racemosa var. cylindracea from the Calvi Bay, Corsica
Gobert, Sylvie ULg; Richir, Jonathan ULg

in Langar, H.; Bouafif, C.; Ouerghi, A. (Eds.) Proceedings of the 5th Mediterranean Symposium on Marine Vegetation (2014, October)

The algae Caulerpa racemosa var. cylindracea (Sonder) was first observed along Corsican coasts in 2002 (Ruitton et al., 2005), and more recently in the Calvi Bay (northwestern Corsica) in 2008. Numerous ... [more ▼]

The algae Caulerpa racemosa var. cylindracea (Sonder) was first observed along Corsican coasts in 2002 (Ruitton et al., 2005), and more recently in the Calvi Bay (northwestern Corsica) in 2008. Numerous works have studied the distribution of that invasive species and the factors driving its rapid expansion, as well as the resulting ecological impacts on native coastal communities (Klein and Verlaque, 2008). However, very little is known regarding C. racemosa biochemistry and its natural ability to concentrate trace elements (TEs). In the framework of the STARECAPMED project, this work therefore aimed to study the bioaccumulation and the compartmentalization of 19 TEs in this macroalgae. [less ▲]

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See detailIslands as reference stations for environmental studies: the case of Calvi Bay in Corsica
Abadie, Arnaud ULg; Gobert, Sylvie ULg; Lejeune, Pierre

Conference (2014, July 05)

Islands are subject to human activities and their impacts on land and marine ecosystems. They are also often isolated from some of the continental influences but on the other hand different kind of human ... [more ▼]

Islands are subject to human activities and their impacts on land and marine ecosystems. They are also often isolated from some of the continental influences but on the other hand different kind of human activities can be concentrated in small areas. These characteristics make possible the management of many programs that use whole islands, or some of their parts, as a reference station for environmental studies. From this perspective, the program STARE-CAPMED has begun in 2012 at STARESO, an oceanographic research station established at Calvi Bay (Corsica) since the early 70’s. It aims to create a reference station for the study of emerging local and global anthropogenic impacts on marine pristine ecosystems. Several universities are involved in this project and provide their expertise in various fields of marine sciences. This program provides a precise view of the environmental processes that occur, which are strongly linked with economic and cultural issues. [less ▲]

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See detailTrace element bioaccumulation in rope-grown Mytilus galloprovincialis: knowledge update
Richir, Jonathan ULg; Gobert, Sylvie ULg

Poster (2014, May 12)

Numerous trace elements (TEs) can be considered as potential pollutants of the environment, their mining productions and industrial uses increasing worldwide. Their monitoring can be achieved through the ... [more ▼]

Numerous trace elements (TEs) can be considered as potential pollutants of the environment, their mining productions and industrial uses increasing worldwide. Their monitoring can be achieved through the use of bioindicator species, such as the Mediterranean mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis (Lamarck, 1819). That species has been widely used to monitor the chemical pollution of coastal ecosystems by Cr, Ni, Cu, Zn, Cd, Pb, As, Ag and V. Conversely, environmental levels of Be, Al, Fe, Mn, Co, Se, Mo, Sn, Sb and Bi have been little or not monitored so far in mussel watch programs. Bioaccumulation processes of these 19 TEs in rope-grown M. galloprovincialis purchased from a salt pond with good chemical water quality were thus investigated in the present study. Mussels efficiently accumulated the 19 studied TEs. Bioaccumulation processes were driven by numerous mutually dependent biological parameters such as the mussel size and flesh weight, the sex and the reproductive status and the body compartment considered. TE bioaccumulation was a power function of the mussel soft body dry weight; total contents linearly increased with the shell length. Small-size mussels overall concentrated more TEs, with a high interindividual variability, consequently influencing the modelling of their bioaccumulation in the whole rope population. Although a large range of rope-grown M. galloprovincialis sizes can be used for monitoring purposes, one will thus take care not to use extreme size individuals. The influence of gametogenesis in determining female body higher TE concentrations prior to spawning could not be neglected and varied depending on the element. TEs were preferentially accumulated in the hepatopancreas, except for Zn, Se, Cd and Mo, more concentrated in gills. Gametogenesis did not influence TE distribution between body compartments, but likely diluted their concentrations as a direct consequence of massive reproductive tissue production. So, results from the present study underlined the potential use of M. galloprovincialis in the biomonitoring of numerous little studied TEs and gave some insights into the decisive role played by some relevant biological parameters in bioaccumulation processes of the 19 investigated TEs in rope-grown mussels. [less ▲]

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See detailHas oxygen depletion an impact on nutrients and macrofauna in a highly dynamic macrophytodetritus accumulation?
Remy, François ULg; Mascart, Thibaud ULg; Dauby, Patrick ULg et al

Poster (2014, May 06)

Posidonia oceanica is an endemic Mediterranean highly productive seagrass. Depending on the ability of the primary consumers to digest it alive, a generally important part of its foliar primary production ... [more ▼]

Posidonia oceanica is an endemic Mediterranean highly productive seagrass. Depending on the ability of the primary consumers to digest it alive, a generally important part of its foliar primary production falls in autumn, to decay inside the meadow or to be exported to sand patches to form “exported litter accumulations”. These accumulations are highly dynamic depending on hydrodynamics and seafloor geomorphology. Literature says that low O2 conditions might occur inside litter accumulations, but the annual oxygen dynamics or its impact on the litter-associated macrofauna has never been measured. We focused on 2 exported litter accumulations in Calvi Bay (Corsica), during 2 years for a total of 8 seasons. For each season, we collected water samples (n=6) from 3 different strata: Water Column (WC), Water Just Above the litter (WJA) and Water Inside the litter (WI). Oxygen was measured for each replicate using a Winkler-based automated routine for oxygen concentration measurements on micro-volumes. At the same time, nutrients concentrations (PO4, NH4, and NO2+NO3) were measured in WC, WJA and WI, but also in the Interstitial Water (IW) using a spectrophotometric continuous flow analyzer (adapted for low nutrients level in an oligotrophic environment). In parallel, macrofaunal (size >500µm) samples (n=3-6) were also collected, counted and identified to the specific level. Our results show significant differences between O2 concentrations/saturation from WI and the two other strata. Significant differences were detected between seasons, sites and years for WI which is the only stratum where really low O2 conditions can be observed. Significant differences were also detected between seasons for both WC and WJA but no differences between sites and years. On the other hand no significant differences were detected between WC and WJA. A similar observation was made for the nutrients at the annual, seasonal and spatial level. Moreover differences are also observed between the nutrients themselves. Our data shows no correlation between WI O2 concentrations and saturation, and global macrofauna abundance or biodiversity. Results are more contrasting at an individual specific level for the 4 most dominant species. For two amphipod species, Gammarella fucicola (55% of the global abundance) and Gammarus aequicauda, no significant correlations were detected between their abundance and O2. For the leptostracan species, Nebalia strausi, a significant negative correlation with O2 concentration was detected. For the last amphipod species, Melita hergensis, a significant positive correlation was observed. Our analyses also show significant correlations between WI O2 concentration/saturation, and WI / IW nutrients concentration. To conclude, this work shows that WI is a very particular and dynamic environment considering O2 concentration and saturation. Low O2 conditions can be observed in WI but never in WC or WJA showing that internal processes and relations with the sediment determine the O2 dynamics in WI and showing a potential “barrier” effect between WI and WC. Moreover O2 dynamics and its consequences may play a role in the nutrients dynamics and cycles. It is clear that faunal responses to low O2 conditions are not identifiable at a global community level. At a specific level, we show a more complex situation: some species do not seem to be impacted by low O2 conditions, but some present a significant positive, or a significant negative response. This shows the existence and complexity of species-dependent low O2 tolerance/adaptation, and the importance of a specific level data analyses to detect responses of dominant litter associated macro- invertebrates to O2 concentration and saturation variations. [less ▲]

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See detailHypoxia in macrophytodetritus accumulation: Species specific harpacticoid copepod adaptation?
Mascart, Thibaud ULg; De Troch, Marleen; Gobert, Sylvie ULg et al

Poster (2014, May 05)

Mediterranean Posidonia oceanica seagrass meadows generate high primary production and support large biodiversity of associated fauna and flora. The majority of the foliar material falls on the ... [more ▼]

Mediterranean Posidonia oceanica seagrass meadows generate high primary production and support large biodiversity of associated fauna and flora. The majority of the foliar material falls on the unvegetated sea floor during the autumnal leaf senescence, fuelling the detrital food web. Whilst laying on the sea floor the freshly formed macrophytodetritus pile up into accumulations according to the local hydrodynamics and seafloor geomorphology. In these litter accumulations, harpacticoid copepods (Crustacea, Copepoda) are the main meiofaunal players (metazoans in the size range of 38µm – 1mm) and show a high specific diversity. They are primarily grazers, but their high specific diversity suggests that they occupy also a large variety of trophic niches. This large morphological and trophic diversity can partly be promoted by the complexity of the phytodetritus in seagrass accumulations. On the other hand, macrophytodetritus degradation and flux of reduced compounds from the sediments is responsible for oxygen consumption inside the accumulation of seagrass litter. Therefore, concentration of oxygen inside the accumulation is very variable and often under the concentration observed in the water column just above the litter. Frequently, oxygen levels reach very low values. The present study aims to link the oxygen variability inside the accumulation to the densities of the five most dominant harpacticoid copepods found living in the P. oceanica litter. Standardized samples were collected seasonally in two contrasting sites of the Calvi Bay (Corsica) during one year. Our results showed no correlation between the oxygen concentrations and harpacticoid community diversity or their total abundances. The five most dominant species showed divergent results, but none had a clear correlation with the oxygen concentration. This contrasts with observation done for sediment meiofaunal community where most harpacticoid copepods are sensitive to oxygen level and where nematodes often dominate the community. This could be explained by their high mobility and the patchiness and variability of the oxygen concentrations present in the accumulations. Harpacticoid copepods, whilst being sensitive to hypoxia and anoxia developed a strategy to live in this fast oxygen changing environment. To conclude, our results underline the importance of species-specific analysis of correlation data. Especially in complex and dynamic environments where a variety of potential trophic niches are present and species competition is very likely to occur. The overall abundance pattern and diversity of the copepod community showed no relation to the oxygen concentration while the most abundant copepod species did not responded to fluctuating oxygen concentrations. [less ▲]

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See detailSEDIMENTS OXIDATION BY SEAGRASSES: INFLUENCE ON THE S CYCLE IN POSIDONIA OCEANICA (L.) DELILE INTERMATTES DYNAMIC
Abadie, Arnaud ULg; Lejeune, Pierre; Pergent, Gérard et al

Poster (2014, May)

The Mediterranean seagrass Posidonia oceanica forms meadows and develops a complex of rhizomes, roots and sediment which is called “matte”. P. oceanica meadows show discontinuity patterns in the form of ... [more ▼]

The Mediterranean seagrass Posidonia oceanica forms meadows and develops a complex of rhizomes, roots and sediment which is called “matte”. P. oceanica meadows show discontinuity patterns in the form of sand or dead matte (matte without living shoots) patches, called “intermattes”, which can have natural or anthropogenic origins. Mechanical processes (e. g. currents, anchoring) can initiate intermattes formation but their dynamic after creation seems to be linked with the sediment chemistry, especially with S cycle. P. oceanica plays an important role in controlling coastal belowground biogeochemistry, in particular by oxidizing sediments through the release of O2 by roots. This process allows creating more suitable condition for plant growth and colonization. The lack of H2S oxidation in SO4 2- can lead to limitation of the plant development or its regression. In order to investigate the effect of oxidation condition in sediments on intermattes dynamic and the neighboring meadow, we initiate, in December 2013, a study on six intermattes (three natural, three anthropogenic) at different depths in Calvi Bay, in Corsica (France). We hypothesize that redox potential and H2S concentration in sediments play an important role in the regression of P. oceanica meadows, particularly after a mechanical anthropic impact like anchoring. It also may be possible that two different kinds of processes are involved for each type of intermatte. Regular samplings throughout two years are planed with the aim of evaluating the seasonal variations of physicochemical parameters. [less ▲]

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See detailCorsican seagrass detritus: An opportune shelter or a copepod Eldorado?
Mascart, Thibaud ULg; Lepoint, Gilles ULg; Remy, François ULg et al

Poster (2014, March 07)

Seagrass ecosystems are extensive beds of marine flowering plants bordering tropical and temperate coastal regions. They play an important role in maintaining biological productivity and bio-geochemical ... [more ▼]

Seagrass ecosystems are extensive beds of marine flowering plants bordering tropical and temperate coastal regions. They play an important role in maintaining biological productivity and bio-geochemical cycles in the sea and support higher diversity and abundance of fauna in comparison to adjacent non-vegetated areas. The seagrass meadow primary production can be directly consumed through herbivory but the majority of the plant material falls on the sea floor during the autumnal leaf senescence. The leaf litter then degrades within the meadow or accumulates with other micro- and macrophytodetritus to form detritus accumulations on the adjacent non-vegetated sand patches. These exported accumulations are quite dynamic in relation to seafloor geomorphology and local hydrodynamics. Thus, the detritus accumulations are an easily disturbed ephemeral environment with one large influx a year. Consequently the physico-chemical characteristics can change very fast and impact the sheltering capacity and food supply present. Nonetheless, fishes, macrofauna and meiofauna are omnipresent throughout the year. In our study site along the shore of N-W Corsica, Posidonia oceanica seagrass meadows are characterised by substantial detritus accumulations. The present study aimed to analyse the biodiversity of the copepod species communities (Crustacea, Copepoda) in those detritus accumulations. The results showed that the copepod detritus community consisted of a mixture of species that are also found in adjacent habitats (seagrass meadow, sediment, epilithic habitats, water column). Each adjacent habitat is characterised by organisms that are morphologically adapted to the specific features of that habitat. The majority of copepods are epiphytic (order Harpacticoida), that occur typically on seagrass leaves and macroalgae. Other species are planktonic (orders Cyclopoida and Calanoida) and some were benthic (order Harpacticoida), known from the nearby sediment. A minority of the copepod community were parasitic on fish or invertebrate (order Siphonostomatoida). In order to clarify their origin, we assume that passive transport by currents plays a significant role next to the active migration from the anoxic sediments under the detritus. For sure they also reproduce within the detritus packages as we found many nauplii, copepodites and gravid females. The above mentioned suggestions cannot explain such high density of copepods by themselves. Other attraction mechanisms are needed to explain the important amount of planktonic and epiphytic species with good swimming ability, such as higher food accessibility. In the detritus no plant-defence mechanisms are present anymore and a lot of micro-organisms and thus potential food sources are present. Furthermore, the dense detritus package provides shelter and protection from potential predators. Subsequently we may consider the detritus accumulations as a copepod species-specific opportune Eldorado for sheltering, nursing and feeding. [less ▲]

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See detailNew insights for an old topic: seagrasses as bioindicators of coastal trace element pollution
Richir, Jonathan ULg; Lejeune, Pierre; Gobert, Sylvie ULg

in ARGYRO ZENETOS, ZENETOS (Ed.) Mediterranean Marine Science (2014, March)

The marine magnoliophyte Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile has been widely used since the mid-70th to biomonitor the coastal pollution of the Mediterranean in Cr, Ni, Cu, Zn, Cd, Pb and/or Fe. In contrast ... [more ▼]

The marine magnoliophyte Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile has been widely used since the mid-70th to biomonitor the coastal pollution of the Mediterranean in Cr, Ni, Cu, Zn, Cd, Pb and/or Fe. In contrast, other trace elements (TEs) like As, V, Ag, Be, Al, Mn, Co, Se, Mo, Sn, Sb and Bi, many of them categorized as TEs of environmental emerging concern, have been subject to nearly no ecotoxicological survey with that species. It has been shown that the French Mediterranean littoral was submitted to local, diffuse and/or chronic contaminations both by TEs broadly or little biomonitored with P. oceanica; high TE levels could further be linked to specific anthropic activities such as agriculture (Mo), mining (Cr, Sb, Zn), industries (As), storage and refinement of oil products (V, Pb) or presence of major ports and urban centres (Sn, Bi, Ag). It seems therefore necessary to expand the short list of the seven metals commonly monitored to other TEs, what is today easily achievable as current analytical methods allow the simultaneous determination of all a series of TEs within the same sample. Furthermore, only a multielement analysis in appropriate bioindicator species allow to correctly intercompare the pollution status of numerous sampling sites. To do this, we have calculated proper environmental indices, the trace element pollution index TEPI and the trace element spatial variation index TESVI. The TEPI is an index of the global contamination of a site, giving the same weight to each TE after mean normalization of their environmental concentrations. The TESVI estimates the global spatial variability of environmental concentrations of each TE levels, taking into account both punctual contaminations in impacted sites and the overall coastal spatial heterogeneity between all monitored sites.These two indices were successfully applied both at large (French Mediterranean littoral) and small (a Bay) spatial scales. Furthermore, they can be used in the framework of an intercomparative study compiling data from any previous monitoring surveys. We also highlighted that the ecophysiology and surrounding levels of TEs influenced in an equivalent manner the bioaccumulation process of TEs in P. oceanica. Consequently, this natural cyclic evolution of TE concentrations should be systematically quantified in regional reference sites. Finally, the rapid and proportionnal accumulation of TEs in P. oceanica traps huge amounts of contaminants and can stock them for longer periods of time in their bellow grounds tissues. P. oceanica meadows therefore play an efficient role of natural filter of TE coastal pollutions. [less ▲]

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See detailAn ecological study of Electra posidoniae Gautier, 1954 (Cheilostomata, Anasca), a bryozoan epiphyte solely found on the seagrass Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile, 1813
Lepoint, Gilles ULg; Mouchette, Olivier; Pelaprat, Corine et al

in Belgian Journal of Zoology (2014), 144(1), 51-63

The bryozoan Electra posidoniae Gautier is found solely on the leaves of the Neptune grass Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile, dominating the leaf epifauna of this seagrass. Epiphytes of marine angiosperms ... [more ▼]

The bryozoan Electra posidoniae Gautier is found solely on the leaves of the Neptune grass Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile, dominating the leaf epifauna of this seagrass. Epiphytes of marine angiosperms (or seagrasses) often play an important role in ecosystem functioning, for example as food web suppliers. As dysfunction of epiphytic compartment is often implied in human-induced seagrass decline, it is important to understand the dynamics and life traits of this community in pristine areas. This study involved the monthly assessment of colonization dynamics, biomass seasonality and diet composition through stable isotopes measurements of E. posidoniae at a depth of 10 m in the Revellata Bay (Corsica, Mediterranean Sea). Ancestrulae (i.e. colony founders) appeared towards the end of winter and were very selective in their settlement position along the P. oceanica leaves. A maximum of 100,000 colonies per square meter was recorded. E. posidoniae colonies dominated the epiphytic community biomass in early spring, and were over-covered by epiphytic algae in June. Food shortage could be also involved in this decrease. Although stable isotope ratios of C, N and S showed that this suspension feeder mainly relies on the water column productivity for its food, other food sources such as re-suspended epiphytic diatoms could be important in late spring (i.e. after the phytoplanktonic bloom). Additionally, a contribution of seagrass phytodetritus to the diet of this species cannot be excluded. The species was almost absent in winter, raising the question of its recruitment in spring. This study confirms the quantitative importance of this species in the seagrass meadow and explores its role in the relationship between the water column and this seagrass ecosystem. [less ▲]

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