References of "Lepoint, Gilles"
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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 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 (in press)

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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See detailIsotopic tracing of sediment components that are assimilated by epibiontic juveniles of Holothuria scabra (Holothuroidea)
Plotieau, Thomas; Lepoint, Gilles ULg; Lavitra, Thiery et al

in Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom (in press)

Despite H. scabra’s wide distribution and status as one of the best candidates for sustaining the development of tropical sea cucumber aquaculture, very few data are available regarding the organic ... [more ▼]

Despite H. scabra’s wide distribution and status as one of the best candidates for sustaining the development of tropical sea cucumber aquaculture, very few data are available regarding the organic fraction it assimilates in practice. In this study we report experimental results where H. scabra’s diet was supplemented with various 15N-labelled organic fractions of sediment. We used juveniles weighing between 38- 88 mg at the beginning of the experiment (ca. 2 cm long and 30 days old). Their growth was measured over a four week period and their 15N composition recorded. The results showed that H. scabra juveniles assimilated all added organic components from both dissolved and particulate fractions of the sediment. Bacteria seem to be an important food source for juveniles, even more so than microphytobenthos (diatoms). [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 (in press)

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 detailAssessment of contaminant levels and trophic relations at a World Heritage Site by measurements in a characteristic shorebird species
Schwemmer, Philipp; Covaci, Adrian; Das, Krishna ULg et al

in Environmental Research (2015), 136

The River Elbe is responsible for influxes of contaminants into the Wadden Sea World Heritage Site. We investigated levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), oxychlordane (OxC), hexachlorobenzene (HCB ... [more ▼]

The River Elbe is responsible for influxes of contaminants into the Wadden Sea World Heritage Site. We investigated levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), oxychlordane (OxC), hexachlorobenzene (HCB), hexachlorocyclohexanes (α-, β-, γ-HCHs), dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and its metabolites, and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in blood and feathers from Eurasian oystercatchers (Haematopus ostralegus; n=28) at the Elbe and compared it with a non-riverine site about 90 km further north. (1) Mean levels of all contaminants in feathers and serum were significantly higher at the river (ƩPCBs: 27.6 ng/g feather, 37.0 ng/ml serum; ƩDDTs: 5.3 ng/g feather, 4.4 ng/ml serum) compared with the non-riverine site (ƩPCBs: 6.5 ng/g feather, 1.2 ng/ml serum; ƩDDTs: 1.4 ng/g feather, 0.5 ng/ml serum). Mean ƩHCH and HCB levels were <1.8 ng/g in feather and <1.8 ng/ml in serum at both sites. (2) Levels of most detectable compounds in serum and feathers were significantly related, but levels were not consistently higher in either tissue. (3) There was no significant relationship between trophic level in individual oystercatchers (expressed as δ15N) or the degree of terrestrial feeding (expressed as δ13C) and contaminant loads. (4) PBDEs were not detected in significant amounts at either site. The results of this study indicate that the outflow from one of Europe’s largest river systems is associated with significant historical contamination, reflected by the accumulation of contaminants in body tissues in a coastal benthivore predator. [less ▲]

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See detailStable isotope ratios reveal trophic niche partitioning among hermit crabs from tropical polyspecific seagrass meadows
Michel, Loïc ULg; Frederich, Bruno ULg; Lavitra, Thierry et al

Poster (2014, December 12)

Polyspecific seagrass meadows are ubiquitous features of tropical coastal zones. These ecosystems are of critical ecological importance, and provide a wide range of socio-economical services to local ... [more ▼]

Polyspecific seagrass meadows are ubiquitous features of tropical coastal zones. These ecosystems are of critical ecological importance, and provide a wide range of socio-economical services to local populations. Meadows however undergo multiple threats linked to human activities (increased nutrient input, overfishing, invertebrate overharvesting, etc.). It is currently hard to assess how seagrass meadows could respond to anthropogenic impacts due to poor knowledge of their functional ecology. In an effort to unravel trophic interactions ruling the food webs associated to seagrass beds of the Toliara Great Reef (SW Madagascar), we studied resource segregation between two common Diogenidae hermit crabs (Dardanus scutellatus and Ciliopagurus tricolor) using stable isotope ratios. Interspecific differences were noted in isotopic composition of carbon (δ13C = -12.22 ± 1.73 ‰ for D. scutellatus, δ13C = -14.55 ± 0.73 ‰ for C. tricolor), nitrogen (δ15N = 4.73 ± 0.53 ‰ for D. scutellatus, δ15N = 5.20 ± 0.61 ‰ for C. tricolor) and sulfur (δ34S = 14.08 ± 2.32 ‰ for D. scutellatus, δ34S = 16.73 ± 1.49 ‰ for C. tricolor), suggesting that the two species do not feed on the same items. In addition, SIBER (Stable Isotope Bayesian Ellipses in R) modeling based on C and N data clearly showed that no overlap was present in the core isotopic niches of the two species. It also indicated that the isotopic niche of D. scutellatus was greater than the one of C. tricolor, implying that the former feeds on a greater number of items than the latter. While hermit crabs are generally considered as omnivorous species, this study highlighted differences in the foraging ecology of D. scutellatus and C. tricolor. These differences could help to limit competition for food between these two species, and facilitate their coexistence in Malagasy seagrass beds. [less ▲]

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See detailApplications of stable isotopes in trophic ecology and ecotoxicology
Lepoint, Gilles ULg; Remy, François ULg; Michel, Loïc ULg et al

Scientific conference (2014, September 19)

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See detailTurnover rates of carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes in the amphipod Gammarus aequicauda: insights for trophic studies of Mediterranean macrophytodetritus accumulation.
Remy, François ULg; Melchior, Aurélie; Darchambeau, François ULg et al

Conference (2014, August 04)

A quite diverse and abundant macrofauna assemblage is found in the Mediterranean Sea in exported Posidonia oceanica macrophytodétritus accumulations along with meiofauna, microalgae, fungi and bacteria ... [more ▼]

A quite diverse and abundant macrofauna assemblage is found in the Mediterranean Sea in exported Posidonia oceanica macrophytodétritus accumulations along with meiofauna, microalgae, fungi and bacteria. This study focused on a dominant vagile macroinvertebrate species living and feeding in exported dead P.oceanica leaves litter from Calvi Bay (Corsica, France): Gammarus aequicauda. Results of gut content observations and stable isotope analysis (SIAR data) showed clearly that G. aequicauda is the most important dead P. oceanica consumer with up to 50% of dead leaves contribution. An isotopic turnover experiment was conducted with 3 controlled simultaneous treatments: 1. amphipod feeding for 43 days, 2. Green algae feeding for 30 days and 3. Posidonia oceanica litter feeding for 30 days. Individuals (n = 12 to 16) have been sampled every 7 days and whole individual stable isotope analysis have been conducted. An exponential decay regression model and calculations resulted in half-lives for C ranging from 11.72 days (treatment 1) to 51.62 days (treatment 3). Treatment 2 data did not allow us to fit a curve, consequence of a potentially very low turnover rate. For N, no significant increase or decrease of the δ15N values have been observed, and we thus concluded that δ15N was at the equilibrium from the beginning to the end of the experiment. It appears that amphipods feeding on low quality food (high to very high C/N ratio) like algae and Neptune grass dead leaves, show a lower turnover rate for C than amphipods feeding on a high quality animal food (low C/N ratio). Carbon and Nitrogen stable isotope “Trophic Enrichment Factor” (TEF) were calculated for treatments where δ13C or δ15N were at the equilibrium at the end of the experiment. Calculated TEF for nitrogen ranged from 0.53‰ ± 0.439 to 0.96‰ ± 0.424 for treatment 2 and 3 (consistent with detritus-feeder invertebrate values) and was 2.91‰ ± 0.558 for treatment 1 (consistent with predator invertebrate values). For C calculations, a TEF of 0,81‰± 0.39 for treatment 1 and a TEF of 1.19‰ ± 0.824 for treatment 3 were calculated. [less ▲]

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See detailFeeding ecology of harpacticoid copepod species: Insights from stable isotopes analysis and fatty acid profiling
Mascart, Thibaud ULg; De Troch, Marleen; Remy, François ULg et al

Conference (2014, August 04)

Understanding how biodiversity influence ecosystem functioning is a major research question in current ecology research. Trophic diversity within communities strongly affects ecosystem functioning through ... [more ▼]

Understanding how biodiversity influence ecosystem functioning is a major research question in current ecology research. Trophic diversity within communities strongly affects ecosystem functioning through trophic interactions between species. Various studies tackled ecosystem functioning via interactions between trophic guilds such as bottom-up and top-down control. However, few studies focussed on interspecific variability in the feeding ecology of organisms with overlapping trophic niche. Here, we in a North-Western Corsican Posidonia oceanica seagrass meadow and its variability over one year. The extensive P. oceanica meadows are occasionally interrupted by bare sand patches which serve as deposition and accumulation area for detritus, mainly derived from senescent macrophytes. These macrophytodetritus accumulation harbour a diverse community of Harpacticoida (Crustacea, Copepoda). The most abundant harpacticoids and their potential food sources (i.e. macrophytodetritus, epiphytic biofilm, macroalgae and particulate matter) were analysed for stable isotope ratios (δ13C, δ15N). Bayesian mixing model (SIAR) showed a minor contribution of macrophytodetritus while the epiphytic biofilm, present on the macrophytodetritus, appeared to be the major food source of harpacticoid copepods. In order to distinguish the several components of the epiphytic biofilm and their contribution, fatty acid profiling was used. The outcome revealed a general harpacticoid diet preference towards diatoms and bacteria, however specialisation for certain components seemed to reduce competition between harpacticoid species. In conclusion, our results underline the importance of multiple biomarker species-specific analysis, especially in complex and dynamic environments where a wide variety of potential trophic niches are present. [less ▲]

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See detailSeasonal variability of meiofauna, especially harpacticoid copepods, in Posidonia oceanica macrophytodetritus accumulations
Mascart, Thibaud ULg; Lepoint, Gilles ULg; Deschoemaeker, Silke et al

in Journal of Sea Research (2014)

The overall aim of this study was (1) to assess the diversity and density of meiofauna taxa, especially harpacticoid copepod species, present within accumulated seagrass macrophytodetritus on unvegetated ... [more ▼]

The overall aim of this study was (1) to assess the diversity and density of meiofauna taxa, especially harpacticoid copepod species, present within accumulated seagrass macrophytodetritus on unvegetated sand patches and (2) to elucidate the community structure of detritus-associated harpacticoid copepods in relation to natural temporal variability of physico-chemical characteristics of accumulations. This was investigated in a Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile seagrass ecosystem in the northwest Mediterranean Sea (Bay of Calvi, Corsica, 42°35’N, 8°43’E) using a triplicate macrophytodetritus core field sampling in two contrasting sites over the four seasons of 2011. Meiofauna higher taxa consisted of 50% Copepoda, which 87% belonged to the Harpacticoida order. Nematoda was the second most abundant taxa. The copepod community displayed a wide variety of morphologically similar and ecologically different species (i.e. mesopsammic, phytal, phytal-swimmers, planktonic and parasitic). The harpacticoid copepod community followed a strong seasonal pattern with highest abundances and species diversity in May-August, revealing a link with the leaf litter epiphyte primary production cycle. Aside from the important role in sheltering, housing and feeding potential of macrophytodetritus, a harpacticoid community BEST analysis demonstrated a positive correlation with habitat complexity and a negative correlation with water movements and P. oceanica leaf litter accumulation. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Amik Lake in Southern Turkey over the last 4000 years, a new paleoseismological record of ruptures along the Northern Dead Sea Fault
Hubert, Aurelia ULg; El Ouahabi, Meriam ULg; Lebeau, Hèlène et al

Poster (2014, June 30)

The study focuses on the sedimentary record of the Amik Lake occupying the central part of a pull-apart basin. The Basin is crossed by The Dead Sea Fault (DSF), a major neotectonic structure in the Middle ... [more ▼]

The study focuses on the sedimentary record of the Amik Lake occupying the central part of a pull-apart basin. The Basin is crossed by The Dead Sea Fault (DSF), a major neotectonic structure in the Middle East extending from the Red Sea in the south to the East Anatolian Fault Zone in the north. Around the Amik Basin, continuous human occupation is attested since 6000-7000 BC. Indeed the low-lying Amuq plain is covered by tell settlements first explored by Robert Braidwood in the 1930s. Our objective in this presentation is to look at major paleo-environmental changes recorded in the Amik Lake over the last 4000 years and in particular its potential paleoseimic sedimentary record. The lake has been drained and progressively dried up since the mid-50s so that it is not watered during the summer season and constitutes a unique opportunity to collect sediment records. Sediments were collected at 1 cm to 2 cm intervals in a trench and in cores up to a depth of 5 meters in the clay deposits. A diverse array of complementary methods is applied to study the records: magnetic susceptibility, grain size, organic matter and inorganic carbon (L.O.I), XRD mineralogy, XRF geochemistry, carbon geochemistry and clay mineralogy. The age of the record is constrained combining radionuclide and radiocarbon dating. The sedimentary record shows large earthquake related structural disturbances and smaller siliciclastic sedimentary events. The siliciclastic input would be related to enhanced detritical sedimentation related to earthquake shaking. The latter is further investigated looking at intensities and shake maps related to the last 19th century M>7 earthquakes in the area and landslide prone area in the lake catchment. [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 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 detailPaleoenvironmental record of the Amik Basin (Amuq Plain, Southern Turkey) over the last 4000 years
Hubert, Aurelia ULg; El Ouahabi, Meriam ULg; Lebeau, Hélène ULg et al

Poster (2014, February 04)

Continous human occupation is attested in the Amik Basin since 6000-7000 BC. The low-lying Amuq plain is covered by tell settlements first explored by Robert Braidwood in the 1930s. The Basin also is ... [more ▼]

Continous human occupation is attested in the Amik Basin since 6000-7000 BC. The low-lying Amuq plain is covered by tell settlements first explored by Robert Braidwood in the 1930s. The Basin also is crossed by The Dead Sea Fault (DSF), a major neotectonic structure in the Middle East extending from the Red Sea in the south to Turkey in the north. The study focuses on the sedimentary record of the Amik Lake occupying the central part of the Basin. Our objective is to constrain major paleo-environmental changes in the area over the last 4000 years and assess possible human impact. The lake has been drained and progressively dried up since the mid-50s so that it is not watered during the summer season and constitutes a unique opportunity to collect sediment records. Sediments were collected at 1 cm to 2 cm intervals in a trench and in cores up to a depth of 5 meters in the clay deposits. A diverse array of complementary methods is applied to study the records: magnetic susceptibility, grain size, organic matter and inorganic carbon (L.O.I), XRD mineralogy, XRF geochemistry, carbon geochemistry. The age of the record is constrained combining radionuclide and radiocarbon dating. The record shows two intense phases of soil erosion with enrichments in Chromium and Nickel. The most recent erosion phase might be linked with enhanced development during the Roman and the growth of the Antioch City. The oldest one would occur around 3000 BC. The record also allows reconstructing past lake level variations and discusses the results in comparison with variations of the Dead Sea. [less ▲]

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See detailSeismically-triggered organic-rich layers in recent sediments from lake Gollukoy (North Anatolian Fault, Turkey
Avşar, Ulaş; Hubert, Aurelia ULg; De Batist, Marc et al

in Quaternary Science Reviews (2014), 103

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See detailSeagrass amphipod assemblages in a Mediterranean marine protected area: a multiscale approach
Sturaro, Nicolas ULg; Lepoint, Gilles ULg; Pérez-Perera, Amanda et al

in Marine Ecology. Progress Series (2014), 506

Marine protected areas (MPAs) are a key tool for conservation purposes, but few studies have assessed the responses of small macrozoobenthic assemblages to different protection levels in the Mediterranean ... [more ▼]

Marine protected areas (MPAs) are a key tool for conservation purposes, but few studies have assessed the responses of small macrozoobenthic assemblages to different protection levels in the Mediterranean Sea. In this study, we used a hierarchical sampling design spanning three orders of magnitude (1-10-100 metres) to investigate whether a marine protected area exerts an effect on amphipod assemblages associated with Posidonia oceanica meadows. This study reports spatial and temporal variability patterns of amphipod assemblages in four different protection levels and discusses potential confounding effects, such as habitat features. The structure of amphipod assemblages based on density data was patchy at all spatial scales investigated, but differed markedly among protection levels. Among outstanding points, multiscale analyses showed that lower densities and/or biomasses of several taxa occurred within fully protected and external areas in comparison with partially protected areas (PPAs). Furthermore, Posidonia oceanica meadow features (shoot density, leaf and epiphyte biomasses, coefficient A and litter biomass) accounted for only a low proportion of the total variability. We can consequently infer that the observed patchiness is likely to occur for multiple and interconnected reasons, ranging from the ecological and behavioural traits of amphipod species to protection-dependent processes (e.g. fish predation). Long term multiscale spatial and temporal monitoring, as well as experimental manipulations, are clearly needed to fully understand the effects of protection on macrozoobenthic assemblages. [less ▲]

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See detailDifferential cadmium and zinc distribution in relation to their physiological impact in the leaves of the accumulating Zygophyllum fabago L
LEFÈVRE, Isabelle; VOGEL‐MIKUŠ, Katarina; JEROMEL, Luka et al

in Plant, cell & environment (2014), 37(6), 1299-1320

Cadmium and zinc share many similar physiochemical properties, but their compartmentation, complexation and impact on other mineral element distribution in plant tissues may drastically differ. In this ... [more ▼]

Cadmium and zinc share many similar physiochemical properties, but their compartmentation, complexation and impact on other mineral element distribution in plant tissues may drastically differ. In this study, we address the impact of 10-μM Cd or 50-μM Zn treatment on ion distribution in leaves of a metallicolous population of the non-hyperaccumulating species Zygophyllum fabago at tissue and cell level, and the consequences on the plant response through a combined physiological, proteomic and metabolite approach. Micro-proton induced X-ray emission and laser ablation inductively coupled mass spectrometry analyses indicated hot spots of Cd concentrations in the vicinity of vascular bundles in response to Cd treatment, essentially bound to S-containing compounds as revealed by extended X-Ray absorption fine structure and non-protein thiol compounds analyses. A preferential accumulation of Zn occurred in vascular bundle and spongy mesophyll in response to Zn treatment, and was mainly bound to O/N-ligands. Leaf proteomics and physiological status evidenced a protection of photosynthetically active tissues and the maintenance of cell turgor through specific distribution and complexation of toxic ions, reallocation of some essential elements, synthesis of proteins involved in photosynthetic apparatus or C-metabolism, and metabolite synthesis, with some specificities regarding the considered heavy metal treatment. [less ▲]

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See detailThe diet of the Harlequin crab Lissocarcinus orbicularis, an obligate symbiont of sea cucumbers (holothuroids) belonging to the genera Thelenota, Bohadschia and Holothuria
Caulier, Guillaume; Lepoint, Gilles ULg; Van Nedervelde, Fleur et al

in Symbiosis (2014)

The present paper characterizes, for the first time, the diet of the Harlequin crab, Lissocarcinus orbicularis an obligate symbiotic crab that associates with sea cucumbers (holothuroids) belonging to the ... [more ▼]

The present paper characterizes, for the first time, the diet of the Harlequin crab, Lissocarcinus orbicularis an obligate symbiotic crab that associates with sea cucumbers (holothuroids) belonging to the genera Thelenota, Bohadschia and Holothuria. These tropical holothuroids host a rich symbiotic community in the Indo-West Pacific Ocean of which the Harlequin crab is the best known. The diet of L. orbicularis was characterized by analyzing the microscopic, molecular and isotopic signatures obtained from its gastric content. The presence of sea cucumber ossicles in the gastric mills of the crabs suggests that symbionts eat the superficial integument of their host and this was suppoarted by the fact that Holothuroid DNA was detected in the stomach of L.orbicularis after DGGE and sequencing of the 18S rDNA gene. The stable isotopic δ13C and δ15N values of crab tissues were compared with diverse potential food sources including the three holothuroids, three algae, one sea grass as well as the organic matter contained in the water column, in the sediment, and the second most abundant symbiont, the polychaete Gastrolepidia clavigera. The low δ15N values of crabs suggest that the crabs do not exclusively feed on sea cucumber tissue but assimilate diverse food sources such as sea grasses and organic matter contained in sediment that have similar δ13C values. There were no difference between the feeding of males and females but there was a positive correlation between the carapace length and the stable isotopic values indicating a shift of the food source as crabs grow larger. [less ▲]

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See detailBrominated and phosphorus flame retardants in White-tailed Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla nestlings: Bioaccumulation and associations with dietary proxies (δ13C, δ15N and δ34S)
Eulaers, Igor; Jaspers, Veerle; Halley, Duncan et al

in Science of the Total Environment (2014), 478

Very little is known on the exposure of high trophic level species to current-use brominated (BFRs) and phosphorus flame retardants (PFRs), although observations on their persistence, bioaccumulation ... [more ▼]

Very little is known on the exposure of high trophic level species to current-use brominated (BFRs) and phosphorus flame retardants (PFRs), although observations on their persistence, bioaccumulation potential, and toxicity have been made. We investigated the accumulation of BFRs and PFRs, and their associations with dietary proxies (δ13C, δ15N and δ34S), in plasma and feathers of White-tailed Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla nestlings from Trøndelag, Norway. In addition to accumulation of a wide range of polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) congeners in both plasma and feathers, all non-PBDE BFRs and PFRs could be measured in feathers, while in plasma only two of six PFRs, i.e. tris-(2-chloroisopropyl) phosphate (TCIPP) and tris-(2,3-dichloropropyl) phosphate (TDCPP) were detected. PFR concentrations in feathers (0.95-3,000 ng g-1) were much higher than selected organochlorines (OCs), such as polychlorinated biphenyl 153 (CB 153; 2.3-15 ng g-1) and dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (p,p’-DDE; 2.3-21 ng g-1), PBDEs (0.03-2.3 ng g-1) and non-PBDE BFRs (0.03-1.5 ng g-1). Non-significant associations of PFR concentrations in feathers with those in plasma (P≥0.74), and their similarity to reported atmospheric PFR concentrations, may suggest atmospheric PFR deposition on feathers. Most OCs and PBDEs, as well as tris(chloroethyl) phosphate (TCEP), tris(phenyl) phosphate (TPHP) and tri-(2-butoxyethyl) phosphate (TBOEP) were associated to δ15N and/or δ13C (all P≤0.02). Besides δ15N enrichment, δ34S was depleted in nestlings from fjords, inherently close to an urbanised centre. As such, both may have been a spatial proxy for anthropogenic disturbance, possible confounding their use as dietary proxy. [less ▲]

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