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Trophic relationships on a fucoid shore in south-western Iceland as revealed by stable isotope analyses, laboratory experiments, field observations and gut analyses
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
2009 (English)In: Journal of Sea Research, ISSN 1385-1101, Vol. 61, no 4, 206-215 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Rocky shores in the North Atlantic are known for their zonation patterns of both algae and animals, which can be expected to greatly affect food availability to consumers at different height levels on the shore. We tested the hypothesis that consumers would feed on the most abundant suitable food source in their surroundings. In total 36 species/taxa of common primary producers and consumers were sampled for stable isotope analyses from a sheltered fucoid shore at Hvassahraun in south-western Iceland. A selection of these species was also collected seasonally and from different height levels. Feeding experiments, field observations and gut analyses were also conducted. Our results were in good overall agreement with preexisting knowledge of trophic relationships in the rocky intertidal. Consumers often appeared to be assimilating carbon and nitrogen from the most common diet in their immediate surroundings. The predator Nucella lapillus was thus feeding on different prey at different height levels in accordance with different densities of prey species. When tested in the laboratory, individuals taken from low on the shore would ignore the gastropod Littorina obtusata, uncommon at that height level, even when starved, while individuals from mid-shore readily ate the gastropod. This indicated that some kind of learned behaviour was involved. There were, however, important exceptions, most noteworthy the relatively small contribution to herbivores, both slow moving (the gastropod L obtusata) and fast moving (the isopod Idotea granulosa and the amphipod Gammarus obtusatus) of the dominant alga at this site, Ascophyllum nodosum. The recent colonizer Fucus serratus seemed to be favoured. Selective feeding was indicated both by isotope signatures as well as by results of feeding experiments. Seasonal migrations of both slow and fast moving species could partly explain patterns observed. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 61, no 4, 206-215 p.
Keyword [en]
Trophic Relationships, Food Web, Rocky Shores, Stable Isotopes, Zonation, Ascophyllum nodosum, Fucus serratus, South-western Iceland
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-60228DOI: 10.1016/j.seares.2008.11.004ISI: 000265465400002OAI: diva2:434511
authorCount :3Available from: 2011-08-15 Created: 2011-08-11 Last updated: 2011-08-15Bibliographically approved

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