References of "Gobert, Sylvie"
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See detailSelective top-down control of epiphytic biomass by amphipods from Posidonia oceanica meadows: implications for ecosystem functioning
Michel, Loïc ULg; Dauby, Patrick ULg; Dupont, Alessandra et al

in Belgian Journal of Zoology (in press)

Mediterranean Posidonia oceanica meadows shelter an important biomass and biodiversity of amphipod crustaceans that graze on epiphytes. However, their actual significance for ecosystem functional ... [more ▼]

Mediterranean Posidonia oceanica meadows shelter an important biomass and biodiversity of amphipod crustaceans that graze on epiphytes. However, their actual significance for ecosystem functional processes is hard to estimate, due to the lack of adequate data. Here, a field microcosm-based inclusion experiment was used to test if three of the dominant taxa of the amphipod community (Apherusa chiereghinii, Dexamine spiniventris and Gammarus spp.) could exert top-down control on seagrass leaf epiphytes. Influence of amphipod activity on nutrient availability for the host species was also investigated. All grazer taxa significantly reduced biomasses of erect macroalgae and erect sessile animals present on leaves. None of them consumed encrusting epiflora or epifauna. This selective top-down control could have important implications for the structure of the epiphytic community of P. oceanica leaves, which is one of the most diverse and abundant of all seagrass species. Grazing activity of all taxa caused higher N content of seagrass leaves, likely through amphipod excretion and/or sloppy feeding. Since P. oceanica meadows often grow in oligotrophic zones where plant growth can be nutrient-limited, this N enrichment could enhance seagrass production. Overall, the ecological interaction between P. oceanica and amphipods could be seen as a facultative mutualistic relationship. Our results suggest that amphipod mesograzers are key-elements in some of the functional processes regulating these complex and yet endangered ecosystems, which are essential components of Mediterranean coastal zones. [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 detailChanges of macrofauna stable isotope compositions in a very inconstant seagrass detritic habitat: actual diet modification or baseline shift?
Remy, François ULg; Mascart, Thibaud ULg; Dauby, Patrick ULg et al

Conference (2015, May 20)

Decayed leaves of the Neptune grass Posidonia oceanica, detached and then exported during storms, constitute an important compartment in terms of organic matter transfer from the seagrass bed to the other ... [more ▼]

Decayed leaves of the Neptune grass Posidonia oceanica, detached and then exported during storms, constitute an important compartment in terms of organic matter transfer from the seagrass bed to the other habitats, particularly coastal habitats. These exported litter accumulations (ELA) support a diverse (more than 130 species) and abundant (up to 4900 id.m-2) vagile macrofauna (invertebrates > 500µm) assemblage which may play a key role in the degradation, enrichment and carbon transfer from P. oceanica dead material to coastal food chains. Indeed, preliminary results of vagile invertebrates gut content observations 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. ELA are very dynamic habitats with highly 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. Stable isotopes analysis (C&N) were conducted at an individual level on dominant macrofauna species and mixing and isotopic niche model packages in R were used. Bayesian inference “SIBER” package highlighted significant seasonal and spatial differences of diet at the community, specific and even intraspecific level. Data confirm the potential transfer of seagrass material to animal tissues but in various proportions depending of the species and the season. But one question remained: are these variations reflection a true diet change, or only a spatiotemporal baseline variation of the food sources isotopic composition? “SIAR” Bayesian mixing model showed that it depends on the species and that the two responses co-occur. We emphasized the need to work at the specific level but also with an adequate temporal resolution for sampling to encompass diet and baseline variability. [less ▲]

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See detailSeagrasses or caged mussels to bioassess the contamination rate of Mediterranean coastal waters? That is the question
Richir, Jonathan ULg; Galgani, François; Benedicto, José et al

in PeerJ (2015, May)

Biological indicators have the capacity to integrate the temporal changes of contaminants, concentrations or fluxes over various time-scales, and are thus considered as interesting tools for water quality ... [more ▼]

Biological indicators have the capacity to integrate the temporal changes of contaminants, concentrations or fluxes over various time-scales, and are thus considered as interesting tools for water quality biomonitoring. Since the mid-70ies, French programs have developed water monitoring approaches based on the use of bivalve molluscs; and recently the natural background and the extent of water contamination were bioassessed at the scale of the whole western Mediterranean. But even if bivalve molluscs are viewed as reliable bioindicators, their use is not always made easy as a result of their absence in numerous coastal regions that force their transplantation (cages) during several months before their sampling and analysis. This weakness led several scientists to evaluate the bioindicator abilities of other marine organisms. Seagrasses, whose ability to bioaccumulate contaminants proportionally to environmental contamination levels has been clearly demonstrated, have thus been proposed as an appropriate alternative tool for coastal water quality assessment. Very little studies have however so far considered the combined utilization of these two groups of bioindicator organisms, i.e. caged bivalve molluscs and seagrasses. In the framework of the STARECAPMED project, we therefore compared and discussed the bioaccumulation of trace elements in the Neptune grass Posidonia oceanica and in caged Mediterranean mussels Mytilus galloprovincialis. The sampling was performed at the scale of the western Mediterranean. The two species told two contamination stories which, although sometimes different, showed to be complementary. P. oceanica and M. galloprovincialis bioaccumulated dissolved trace elements from the water column and thus provided information regarding trace element contamination severity integrated over several days to a few months. Seagrasses, strongly rooted in the sediments, reflected the long-term exposure to trace elements since sediments offer a degree of time integration over several years to decades. Caged mussels, as filter feeder artificially maintained in the water column, bioaccumulated trace elements from their particulate phase, and therefore gave valuable information regarding continental-terrigenous inputs to coastal waters. In conclusion, seagrasses and mussels should neither supplant, nor substitute, but rather complement each other in order to provide the full time- and space-integrated coastal contamination story of the Mediterranean. [less ▲]

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See detailTrace element contamination severity of coastal waters: A first bioassessment at the scale of the whole Mediterranean Sea
Richir, Jonathan ULg; Salivas-Decaux, Maylis; Lafabrie, Céline et al

in PeerJ (2015, May)

Human activities generate large volumes of waste that supply marine coastal environments in pathogens, organic matter, nutrients and toxicants. Among the wide range of toxicants are trace elements. Since ... [more ▼]

Human activities generate large volumes of waste that supply marine coastal environments in pathogens, organic matter, nutrients and toxicants. Among the wide range of toxicants are trace elements. Since the latter are toxic for aquatic organisms from threshold levels and as they are therefore likely to cause multiple damage to the population, the community and the ecosystem levels, their environmental occurrence has to be accurately monitored in order to guarantee appropriate environmental management of coastal zones and to preserve marine coastal ecosystems and the goods and services they provide. In the framework of the STARECAPMED project, the present study aimed to monitor, for the first time, the coastal contamination of the entire Mediterranean by As, Ag, Cd, Cu, Hg, Ni and Pb, using Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile as bioindicator species. But sustainable coastal management also requires the development of appropriate contamination classification systems intended, among other purposes, for environmental managers and policy makers. The combined utilization of several complementary monitoring tools, i.e. water quality scale, pollution index (TEPI and TESVI) and spatial analysis (PCA, CA, correlation analysis and GIS mapping) successfully led to the development of an operational classification system of this kind. In particular, the mapping of the trace element contamination according to a new proposed 5-level water quality scale using the quantile method precisely outlined the contamination severity along Mediterranean coasts and facilitated interregional comparisons. The reliability of the use of P. oceanica as bioindicator species was further again demonstrated through several global, regional and local detailed case studies. In conclusion, holistic approaches such as developed in the present study should be privileged to accurately monitor the contamination rate of coastal waters and to transfer relevant information on this composite problem to environmental managers and policy makers. [less ▲]

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See detailPatch types in Posidonia oceanica meadows around Corsica. How can we use them in seascape ecology?
Abadie, Arnaud ULg; Bonacorsi, Marina; Gobert, Sylvie ULg et al

Conference (2015, May)

The meadows formed by the Mediterranean seagrass Posidonia oceanica are subjected to various natural (e.g., water movement, light availability, sedimentation) and anthropogenic (e.g., anchoring, trawling ... [more ▼]

The meadows formed by the Mediterranean seagrass Posidonia oceanica are subjected to various natural (e.g., water movement, light availability, sedimentation) and anthropogenic (e.g., anchoring, trawling, fish farms, explosives) phenomena that erode them and create diverse types of patches. The assemblage of the P. oceanica matrix and these patches creates particular seascapes. On the basis of this assessment, we aimed to investigate the importance of the patch type in structuring P. oceanica seascapes and to offer new prospects in the large scale studies of seagrass meadows. Five sites encompassing large P. oceanica meadows ranging from 1.86 km² to 4.42 km² along the Corsican coast (France) were considered. Eleven patch types with different sizes, shapes and origins were identified using side scan sonar images (sonograms). Five were recognized as natural and five as anthropogenic. One can be of both origins. The resolution of the sonograms allowed to detect patches of various sizes ranging from 1 m² to 111 829 m². The relation between structural characteristics of patches and the whole seascape aspect was explored using seven landscape metrics relevant for the study of meadows patchiness (patch area, mean radius of gyration, area-weighted radius of gyration, coefficient of variation of the Euclidean nearest-neighbor distance, area-weighted perimeter-area ratio, landscape division index, number of patches). Only a small number of patch types appears to play the strongest role in the characterization of the P. oceanica seascapes. Furthermore, the use of seascape structures seems to be suitable for the development of new tools like indices for the assessment of human impacts on P. oceanica meadows. In this perspective we propose a new and simple index, the Patchiness Source Index (PaSI), to estimate the origin of the patchiness (natural or anthropogenic) for a given area. A landscape approach, as well as information on patch dynamic, should be integrated in the new indices that aim to assess the state of conservation of the whole P. oceanica ecosystem. [less ▲]

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See detailMapping Posidonia oceanica meadows through time A story of precision, evaluation and fragmentation
Abadie, Arnaud ULg; Jousseaume, Matthieu; Lejeune, Pierre et al

Poster (2015, May)

Over the last decades, the interest in mapping Posidonia oceanica beds has increased along with the improvement of the equipment’s precision of data acquisition. In Calvi Bay (Corsica, France) the meadows ... [more ▼]

Over the last decades, the interest in mapping Posidonia oceanica beds has increased along with the improvement of the equipment’s precision of data acquisition. In Calvi Bay (Corsica, France) the meadows cover an area of about 5 km² and are found at a depth ranging from 3 m to 37 m. The availability of three distinct datasets for 1997, 2002 and 2010 allowed to assess changes in the patchiness of the meadows in the bay and to investigate evolution of maps precision through a surface analysis via GIS software. Thus, three maps were elaborated combining aerial photographs and side scan sonar images. The meadows percentage of cover through time was assessed using four bathymetric sections: 0-10 m, 11-20 m, 21-30 m and 31-40 m. Differences in the patchiness of P. oceanica meadows between 1997 and 2010 appear to be moderate (less than 3 %) in the sections 0-10 m and 11-20 m and then greatly increase with depth: 24 % at 21-30 m and 39 % at 31-40 m. This amazing regression seems hardly natural and unlikely given the slight quantity of human activities that can cause damages on the P. oceanica meadows of the Calvi Bay. These results are likely to be mainly due to the improvement of precision and resolution of the aerial photographs (5 m in 1997, 0.8 m in 2002 and 0.5 m in 2010) and sonar images (5 m in 1997, 3 m in 2002 and 0.5 m in 2010). An issue of habitat determination (human vs instrumental) linked with the method adopted for mapping can also cause differences in the percentage of cover. Given the different accuracy among the three maps, the real regression and fragmentation of P. oceanica meadows could be hardly assessed. However, in several areas where the human activities are important, a clear regression or even a disappearance of the meadows has been observed. It is obvious that the last maps are more accurate than the previous ones and, thus, the former can be used for management purpose as well as for study on the patchiness; however, they still keep uncertainty no matter which method is used to create them. [less ▲]

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See detailApplication of stable isotopes in trophic ecology: importance of TEF and seasonal baseline for robust interpretations.
Remy, François ULg; Darchambeau, François ULg; Dauby, Patrick ULg et al

Conference (2015, April 02)

Nitrogen, carbon and sulfur stable isotopes are very powerful tools for trophic ecologists to delineate food webs of various ecosystems. More recently… the use of mixing models has exponentially increased ... [more ▼]

Nitrogen, carbon and sulfur stable isotopes are very powerful tools for trophic ecologists to delineate food webs of various ecosystems. More recently… the use of mixing models has exponentially increased to give a more specific vision of organism’s diets and trophic relationships. Two case studies will be presented to give a summary of what’s been done in Liège Oceanology Lab to improve our interpretation of stable isotopes results. First is an experimental calculation of the Trophic Enrichment Factors (TEFs) for one dominant detritivorous species of Mediterranean amphipod inhabiting seagrass detritus: Gammarus aequicauda (Martynov, 1931). This experimental study was planned after a strange result of the SAIR mixing model, giving results opposed to all observations and knowledge we had about this species. Thus, the impact of 3 very different food sources (amphipod powder, algae power, seagrass powder) on the turnover rate of C and N isotopic compositions was tested, and afterwards TEFs for C and N for each source were calculated. Animal food source showed to be the most effectively assimilated with a fast turnover rate while seagrass and algae showed very slow assimilation. TEFs calculations showed to be interesting because TEFs seem not to depend on the natural feeding type of the invertebrate but more on the type of food source. Animal source showed carnivorous TEFs values while seagrass and algae source showed typical detritivorous values. SIAR results with these new custom values gave more coherent values highlighting the major importance of TEFs values for mixing models data interpretation. Second is a simple question: are the seasonal isotopic composition variations observed for many seagrass detritus macrofauna species due to actual diet changes, or only to isotopic baseline shift of the food sources? Macrofauna and all potential food sources were sampled near STARESO Oceanographic Station (Corsica, 8°45’E; 42°35’N) in 2011-2012 at each season at two different sites. SIBER software runs with C and N isotopic data showed spatio-temporal isotopic variations at community, interspecific and intraspecific level. SIBER did not gave us information about the origin of these changes, but coupled with SIAR and our custom TEFs, species actually showing drastic changes of diet were identified, while others seem to reflect more a source baseline isotopic composition shift. Working at specific level is compulsory for fine conclusions. These two case studies highlight the importance of mixing model use and of accurate TEF values to run these models properly to draw robust and reliable conclusions using stable isotopic data. [less ▲]

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See detailApplications of stable isotopes in environmental studies at the University of Liege
Sturaro, Nicolas ULg; Borges, Alberto ULg; Das, Krishna ULg et al

Poster (2015, March 26)

Measurement and use of stable isotope ratios have a long history at the University of Liege (Belgium). Since at least 30 years, applications of stable isotopes in marine ecosystems have been developed ... [more ▼]

Measurement and use of stable isotope ratios have a long history at the University of Liege (Belgium). Since at least 30 years, applications of stable isotopes in marine ecosystems have been developed within the Laboratory of Oceanology and, more recently, within the Chemical Oceanography Unit. In the Laboratory of Oceanology, one research axis is the measurement of stable isotope composition (C, N, S) in organic matter to delineate trophic web structure and to study animal diet, their trophic niches and their alteration by human activities. This methodology has been successively applied worldwide in different habitats and ecosystems (marine, freshwater, terrestrial) in temperate and tropical areas. Mediterranean food web and fish trophic ecology have received a particular attention. Coupling between trophic ecology and ecotoxicology is another area of investigation. This has been applied mainly to marine vertebrates and freshwater ecosystems. Stable isotope labelling is also used in our laboratory to study and quantify various ecological processes such as inorganic nitrogen incorporation and trophic transfers. The laboratory facilities, renewed in 2012 and managed by Dr. Gilles Lepoint, are composed of an elemental analyser (EA, vario MICRO cube, Elementar) and a gas chromatography (GC, Agilent) coupled to an isotope ratio mass spectrometer (IRMS, Isoprime 100). The GC is also equipped with a quadrupole mass spectrometer. In 2014, the Chemical Oceanography Unit, headed by Dr. Alberto Borges, has acquired and implemented an off-axis cavity ring-down spectroscopy (CRDS) for the measurements of δ15Nα, δ15Nβ, δ18O of N2O. This enables characterization of the N2O origin in a variety of aquatic environments including groundwater in Wallonia, rivers and lakes in Wallonia and Africa, coastal environments (Scheldt estuary, Lake Grevelingen, North Sea), Mediterranean seagrass beds, and Antarctic and Arctic sea-ice. [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 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 (2015), 00(0), 1-7

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 detailA consensual Diving-PAM protocol to monitor Posidonia oceanica photosynthesis
Gobert, Sylvie ULg; Lepoint, Gilles ULg; Silva, João et al

in PeerJ (2015)

The seagrass Posidonia oceanica is widely recognized as an effective bioindicator of the health status of Mediterranean coastal waters. Chlorophyll fluorescence measurements, in particular through the ... [more ▼]

The seagrass Posidonia oceanica is widely recognized as an effective bioindicator of the health status of Mediterranean coastal waters. Chlorophyll fluorescence measurements, in particular through the Pulse Amplitude Modulated (PAM) fluorometry method, are performed to study aquatic plant ecology and vitality and to assess their responses to diverse stressful factors. However, the current understanding of P. oceanica photosynthetic responses to environmental stresses does only allow scientists to use the PAM-method as a complementary tool to other more-robust monitoring techniques. Consequently, a more in-depth knowledge of the natural causes of variability of P. oceanica photosynthetic responses are a prerequisite to any surveys relying on that time and cost-effective method. In the framework of the STARECAPMED project, this work aimed to determine the influence of several environmental (depth, daytime, season) and plant-specific characteristics (leaf age, leaf part analyzed, epiphytic coverage) on the photosynthetic responses (Y, ETR, RLC) of P. oceanica. Water temperature, irradiance and several biochemical parameters of the seagrass (chl.a, chl.b, C, N, P, micronutrients such as Fe, Cu) were measured as well. The field survey was performed in a pristine meadow in the Calvi Bay, Corsica. Environmental and plant-physiological characteristics deeply influenced P. oceanica photosynthetic responses. As an example, ETR decreased with depth, contrary to Y that mostly increased. ETR was lower in the basal part of leaf blade, and the epiphytic coverage of leaf tips slightly increased their ETR compared to leaf tips cleaned of epiphytes. Depth and leaf part-related variations in RLC were also observed. Because of this natural variability, it appears essential to develop a consensual protocol of chlorophyll fluorescence measurements to publish reliable and comparable results between studies. We therefore notably suggest to perform measurements close to midday, when photosynthetic responses are the highest; at 10-15 m depth in order to avoid, among others, low depth light irradiance variability; on the middle part of the 3rd-4th external leaf, well developed, highly photosynthetic, and little epiphyted. Finally, because P. oceanica fluorescence was correlated with N, P and chl.b leaf contents, the PAM-method could afterwards be used as bioindicator technique, according to the protocol proposed. [less ▲]

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See detailMarine space ecology and seagrasses. Does patch type matter in Posidonia oceanica seascapes?
Abadie, Arnaud ULg; Gobert, Sylvie ULg; Bonacorsi, Marina et al

in Ecological Indicators (2015), 57

The use of landscape tools in the study of seagrass meadows (seascapes) begins to be widely spreadbut still require the establishment of several basis, i.e. a patch type classification based on ... [more ▼]

The use of landscape tools in the study of seagrass meadows (seascapes) begins to be widely spreadbut still require the establishment of several basis, i.e. a patch type classification based on numericalcharacteristics. Thanks to the complex seascapes created by the Posidonia oceanica meadows, they appearto be suitable for a study at a patch type level (class), which bring a new insight of their arrangement at thewhole seascape scale. By interpreting side scan sonar images from the Corsican coast (France) through aGIS software, it was possible to describe 11 types of patches and to evaluate their natural or anthropogenicorigin. Comparison of different landscape metrics and wave exposure (Relative wave Exposure Index,REI) at the seascape and the patch level showed that the particularity of P. oceanica seascapes are mainlycharacterized by certain types of patches often of anthropogenic origin. Furthermore the REI seems not tobe a relevant index for a study at a class scale. A bathymetrical succession of natural patches was outlinedfrom the lower to the upper limit of the meadow, with a long-term dynamic opposed to a shorter oneconcerning anthropogenic patches. In order to assess the origin (natural or induced by human activities)of the patches in P. oceanica meadows, as well as in any other seagrass, a Patchiness Source Index (PaSI),ranging from 0 to 1, was defined. [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 detailAre amphipods influenced by Posidonia oceanica seagrass features?
Sturaro, Nicolas ULg; Lepoint, Gilles ULg; Michel, Loïc ULg et al

Poster (2014, December 12)

In the Mediterranean Sea, the seagrass Posidonia oceanica plays an important role as habitat for invertebrates, among which amphipod crustaceans represent a dense and diverse assemblage. Recent studies ... [more ▼]

In the Mediterranean Sea, the seagrass Posidonia oceanica plays an important role as habitat for invertebrates, among which amphipod crustaceans represent a dense and diverse assemblage. Recent studies have observed that amphipod density and biomass vary significantly on small spatial scales. This patchiness may be caused by different factors, such as recruitment, competition, and predation; however, habitat features, resulting in availability of resources such as food or shelter, may also be important in structuring these assemblages. This study examined the relationships between amphipod and habitat features in a P. oceanica meadow of the Revellata Bay (Corsica). The sampling was carried out in a continuous meadow colonizing soft substrates at constant depth in August 2008. We quantified the density and biomass of each amphipod species, as well as habitat features, namely shoot density, leaf and epiphyte biomasses, percentage of leaves per shoot having alteration marks and litter biomass. Using multiple regression analyses, few weak significant relationships were identified between amphipod and habitat features. The number of species and the diversity appeared unaffected by the measured habitat features. In contrast, total amphipod density and biomass were generally positively related to the shoot density and epiphyte biomass of P. oceanica, respectively. Overall, habitat features accounted for 0-30% of the variation in the densities of the amphipod species. A distance-based linear model explained a total of 25.8% of the variation of the amphipod assemblages (of which 18.6% was explained by litter biomass). Amphipods are therefore influenced by some P. oceanica features, but only weakly. Furthermore, some features appeared to influence individual species whereas others functioned at the assemblage level. The main challenge remains in evaluating the scale at which these features act and the way in which they influence the structure of assemblages. [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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Peer Reviewed
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 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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