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See detailFeeding ecology of harbour porpoises: stable isotope analysis of carbon and nitrogen in muscle and bone
Jansen, Okka; Geert, Aarts; Das, Krishna ULg et al

in Marine Biology Research (2012), 8(9), 829-841

Harbour porpoises are the most common small cetaceans in the North Sea and Dutch coastal waters. To study their trophic level and feeding location, stable carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios (d13C and d15N ... [more ▼]

Harbour porpoises are the most common small cetaceans in the North Sea and Dutch coastal waters. To study their trophic level and feeding location, stable carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios (d13C and d15N) were analysed in muscle and bone samples collected from 157 porpoises stranded along the Dutch coast (2006􏰄2008). In addition, samples from 30 prey species were analysed. Prey samples showed high d15N values in species of higher trophic level. In addition, geographic differences in isotopic composition were found, with higher d15N and d13C values in prey from more southern, coastal and estuarine areas. Based on muscle d15N values, we found neonatal enrichment and that larger porpoises, in particular males, seem to feed on lower trophic level species, compared to smaller individuals. Also bone d15N values show that larger animals had fed on lower trophic levels in distant times. Porpoises from the Eastern Scheldt reveal distinct d13C values in muscle, but not in bone. This shows that these animals had foraged in the Eastern Scheldt for a longer time period but were not born there. Seasonal variation in bone d15N and d13C values revealed two distinct groups of porpoises along the Dutch coast, a winter group (mainly males) that migrated from neighbouring regions and a Dutch subpopulation in summer. These results furthered our insight about shifts in trophic level and feeding location of harbour porpoises from the southern North Sea over time. [less ▲]

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See detailFood sources of two detritivore amphipods associated with the seagrass Posidonia oceanica leaf litter
Lepoint, Gilles ULg; Cox, Anne-Sophie; Dauby, Patrick ULg et al

in Marine Biology Research (2006), 2(5), 355-365

This study focused on the ingestion and assimilation of Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile litter by Gammarella fucicola Leach and Gammarus aequicauda Martynov, two dominant detritivore amphipods of the P ... [more ▼]

This study focused on the ingestion and assimilation of Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile litter by Gammarella fucicola Leach and Gammarus aequicauda Martynov, two dominant detritivore amphipods of the P. oceanica leaf litter. Scanning electron microscope observations indicated that leaf litter is highly colonized by diverse diatoms, bacteria and fungi, which may constitute a potential food source for the litter fauna. Gut content observations demonstrated that these species eat P. oceanica litter, and that this item is an important part of their ingested diet. Stable isotope analyses showed that the species do not experience the same gains from the ingested Posidonia. Gammarella fucicola displayed isotopic values, suggesting a major contribution of algal material (micro- and macro-epiphytes or drift macro-algae). On the other hand, the observed isotopic values of G. aequicauda indicated a more important contribution of P. oceanica carbon. The mixing model used agreed with this view, with a mean contribution of P. oceanica to approximately 50% (range 40-55%) of the assimilated biomass of G. aequicauda. This demonstrated that the two species, suspected to be detritus feeders, display in reality relatively different diets, showing that a certain degree of trophic diversity may exist among the detritivore community of the seagrass litter. [less ▲]

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