[en] 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.
Centre Interfacultaire de Recherches en Océanologie - MARE
Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (Communauté française de Belgique) - F.R.S.-FNRS