Special Column:Celebration of the 70th Anniversary of IGSNRR, CAS

Food Sources of Macrofaunal in East Chongming Salt Marsh as Traced by Stable Isotopes

  • 1. Key Laboratory of Geo-information Science of Ministry of Education, Department of Geography, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062;
    2. State Key Laboratory of Estuarine and Coastal Research, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, China

Received date: 2007-03-09

  Revised date: 2007-12-10

  Online published: 2008-03-25


East Chongming salt marsh,located in the east of Changjiang Estuary, is a large wetland, which exhibits a variety of macrobenthos. Understanding the food sources and trophic level of macrofauna is a foundation to study the material and energy flux in the ecosystem. In this paper, stable carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios of organic matter sources and consumers were investigated in the summer of 2005 in the differents living environments of East Chongming salt marsh. It is found that the δ13C and δ15N values of surface sediments vary in different tidal levels, with δ13C from-21.3‰ to-24.2‰ and δ15N from 4.6‰ to 5.6‰. These stable isotope values suggest that sediments not only contain the extraneous materials but also are influenced by the autochthonous organic matter. Our data displays that the dominant macrophytes Scirpus mariqueter and Phragmites australis are the main allochthonous sources of sedimentary organic matter and the extraneous source is suspended particulate organic matter. The dominant macrophytes Scirpus mariqueter and Phragmites australis are C3 plants, and Spartina alterniflora is C4 plant. The stable isotopes are variable among different tissues of plants, especially of Phragmites australis, which suggests that care must be taken and the isotope value of leaves may not be used as that of the whole plant when estimating the food sources. The macrofauna shows a wide range of δ13C, with overall δ13C values between -23.6‰ and -14.7‰, which suggests significant difference of food sources. As a whole, sedimentary organic matter seems to be food base for macrofauna, while the dominant macrophytes of salt marsh appears to play a negligible trophic role. The nitrogen isotope can reflect the trophic level of macrobenthos. It is calculated that trophic level of macrofauna in East Chongming salt marsh is between 2.0 and 3.7, and thus the invertebrates are primary and secondary consumers.

Cite this article

YU Jie, LIU Min, HOU Li-jun, XU Shi-yuan, OU Dong-ni, CHENG Shu-bo . Food Sources of Macrofaunal in East Chongming Salt Marsh as Traced by Stable Isotopes[J]. JOURNAL OF NATURAL RESOURCES, 2008 , 23(2) : 319 -326 . DOI: 10.11849/zrzyxb.2008.02.016


[1] Michener R H, Schell D M. Stable isotope ratios as tracers in marine aquatic food webs. In: Lajtha K, Michener R H. Stable isotopes in ecology and environmental science. Oxford: Blackwell,1994. 138-157. [2] Gee J M. An ecological and economic review of meiofauna as food for fish[J]. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society,1989,96:243-261. [3] 李忠义,金显仕,庄志猛,等.稳定同位素技术在水域生态系统研究中的应用[J].生态学报,2005,25(11):3052~3060. [4] Pasquaud S, Lobry J, Elie P. Facing the necessity of describing estuarine ecosystems: A review of food web ecology study techniques[J]. Hydrobiologia,2007,588:159-172. [5] Vander Z, Rasmussen J B. Primary consumer δ15N and δ13C and the trophic position of aquatic consumers[J]. Ecology,1999,80:1395-1404. [6] Vizzini S, Mazzola A. Seasonal variation in the stable carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios (13C/12C and 15N/14N) of primary producers and consumers in a western Mediterranean coastal lagoon[J]. Marine Biology,2003,142:1009-1018. [7] Couch C A. Carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes of meiobenthos and their food resources[J]. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science,1989,28:433-441. [8] Riera P, Richard P. Isotopic determination of food sources of Crassostrea gigas along a trophic gradient in the estuarine Bay of Marennes-Oléron[J]. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science,1996,42:347-360. [9] Kwak T J, Zedler J B. Food web analysis of southern California coastal wetlands using multiple stable isotopes[J]. Oecologia,1997,110:262-277. [10] Page H M, Lastra M. Diet of intertidal bivalves in the Ria de Arosa (NW Spain): Evidence from stable C and N isotope analysis[J]. Marine Biology,2003,143:519-532. [11] Doi H, Matsumasa M, Toya T, et al. Spatial shifts in food sources for macrozoobenthos in an estuarine ecosystem: Carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analyses[J]. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science,2005,64: 316-322. [12] 蔡德陵,孟凡,韩贻兵,等. 13C/12C比值作为海洋生态系统食物网示踪剂的研究——崂山湾水体生物食物网的营养关系[J].海洋与湖沼,1999,30(6):671~678. [13] 蔡德陵,洪旭光,毛兴华,等.崂山湾潮间带食物网结构的碳稳定同位素初步研究[J].海洋学报,2001,21(4): 41~47. [14] 蔡德陵,李红燕,唐启升.黄东海生态系统食物网连续营养谱的建立:来自碳氮稳定同位素方法的结果[J]. 中国科学C辑(生命科学),2005,35(2):123~130. [15] 万祎,胡建英,安立会,等.利用稳定氮和碳同位素分析渤海湾食物网主要生物种的营养层次[J].科学通报, 2005,50(7):708~712. [16] Alongi D M. Coastal Ecosystem Processes [M]. Boca Raton: CRC Press,1997. [17] 袁兴中.河口潮滩湿地底栖动物群落的生态学研究(博士学位论文).上海:华东师范大学,2001. [18] 袁兴中,陆健健.长江口岛屿湿地的底栖动物资源研究[J].自然资源学报,2001,16(1):37~41. [19] Fry B, Sherr E B. δ13C measurements as indicators of carbon flow in marine and freshwater ecosystems[J]. Contributions in Marine Science,1984,27:13-47. [20] Peterson B J. Stable isotopes as tracers of organic matter input and transfer in benthic food web: A review[J]. Acta Oecologica,1997,20(4):479-487. [21] Hobson K A, Fisk A, Karnovsky N, et al. A stable isotope (δ13C, δ15N) model for the North Water food web: Implications for evaluating trophodynamics and the flow of energy and contaminants[J]. Deep-Sea Research Ⅱ,2002,49:5131-5150. [22] Bode A, Carrera P, Lens S. The pelagic foodweb in the upwelling ecosystem of Galicia (NW Spain) during spring: Natural abundance of stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes[J]. ICES Journal of Marine Science,2003, 60:11-22. [23] Persic A, Roche H, Ramade F. Stable carbon and nitrogen isotope quantitative structural assessment of dominant species from the Vaccarès Lagoon trophic web (Camargue Biosphere Reserve, France) [J]. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science,2004,60:261-272.