|Assessing the contribution of mangrove carbon and of other basal sources to intertidal flats adjacent to one of the largest West African mangrove forests|Henriques, M.; Granadeiro, J.P.; Piersma, T.; Leão, S.; Ledo Pontes, S.; Catry, T. (2021). Assessing the contribution of mangrove carbon and of other basal sources to intertidal flats adjacent to one of the largest West African mangrove forests. Mar. Environ. Res. 169: 105331. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marenvres.2021.105331
In: Marine Environmental Research. Applied Science Publishers: Barking. ISSN 0141-1136; e-ISSN 1879-0291, meer
Stable isotope; Coastal productivity; West africa; Benthic macroinvertebrates; Mixing models; Benthic ecology; Intertidal ecology; Mangroves; Carbon; Basal food source
|Auteurs|| || Top |
- Henriques, M.
- Granadeiro, J.P.
- Piersma, T., meer
- Leão, S.
- Ledo Pontes, S.
- Catry, T.
Mangrove forests are productive habitats and major potential exporters of organic matter and nutrients to adjacent habitats. Here we examine the extent to which mangrove carbon is transferred to adjacent intertidal food webs in the second largest mangrove-covered area in Africa, in Guinea-Bissau. Applying stable isotope analysis and mixing models, we made comparisons at two spatial scales: (1) a large scale, comparing intertidal flats with (mangrove sites) and without (control sites) adjacent mangrove forests regarding the carbon isotopic signature of macrozoobenthos and sediment organic matter (SOM), and the relative importance of potential primary food sources in sustaining macrozoobenthos, and (2) a fine scale, performing stable carbon isotope measurements along 200 m transects from the coastline out to open intertidal flats, to trace mangrove carbon in macrozoobenthos and in the SOM. We found no evidence that mangrove carbon sustains intertidal food webs, despite SOM being significantly more depleted in 13C in mangrove sites. Mangrove leaves had the lowest relative contribution to the diet of macrozoobenthos, while macroalgae , benthic microalgae and POM showed variable but overall relevant contributions. Yet, at a smaller scale, mangrove carbon was detectable in SOM and in most macrozoobenthos, being strongest within 50 m of the mangrove edge and quickly fading with increasing distance. Our results suggest that there is only a marginal input of mangrove carbon into the food webs of unvegetated intertidal flats. Still, this leaves open the possibility of mangrove forests acting as sources of dissolved inorganic carbon and processed nitrogen, which can be assimilated by the algae and subsequently fuel adjacent food webs.