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Potential early indicators of anthropogenically derived nutrients: a multiscale stable isotope analysis
Vermeulen, S.; Sturaro, N.; Gobert, S.; Bouquegneau, J.M.; Lepoint, G. (2011). Potential early indicators of anthropogenically derived nutrients: a multiscale stable isotope analysis. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 422: 9-22.
In: Marine Ecology Progress Series. Inter-Research: Oldendorf/Luhe. ISSN 0171-8630; e-ISSN 1616-1599, meer
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    NW Mediterranean; Stable isotopes; Eutrophication; Gastropods; Biofilms;

Auteurs  Top 
  • Vermeulen, S.
  • Sturaro, N.
  • Gobert, S.
  • Bouquegneau, J.M.
  • Lepoint, G.

    Increasing human pressure along Mediterranean coastlines raises the need to define sensitive bioindicators that provide an early response to nutrient enrichment. We performed multiscale carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analyses on the limpet Patella caerulea, the snail Monodonta turbinata, epilithic biofilms, and the macroalga Rissoella verruculosa inhabiting the rocky midlittoral zone. Samples were seasonally collected in 2006 from 5 sites exposed to a range of anthropogenic discharges in the Revellata Bay area and in Marseille harbour (France). All bioindicators exhibited strongly elevated d15N values at impacted sites compared to pristine ones, which revealed the biological availability of anthropogenically derived nutrients. Only epilithic biofilms tended to show both the occurrence of nutrient pulses during the tourist season and a d13C response at impacted sites. In contrast to macroalgae, which exhibited a somewhat equivocal signal, gastropods and especially M. turbinata provided the best time-integrated picture of the graduated exposure of the 5 sites to anthropogenic impact. Results also showed first evidence of large isotopic variability at a scale of tens of metres, close to that found at the kilometre scale. The intra-and interspecific isotopic variability in gastropods may be explained by the patchiness of resources and specific morphological and behavioural features, but these factors do not greatly hamper their potential as early bioindicators of wastewater disturbances.

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