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Sources of carbon and dietary habits of new Lessepsian entry Brachidontes pharaonis (Bivalvia, Mytilidae) in the western Mediterranean

  • Autori: Sarà, G.; Vizzini, S.; Mazzola, A.
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2003
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista (Articolo in rivista)
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The sources of carbon and the dietary habits of Brachidontes pharaonis (Mollusca, Bivalvia), a new Lessepsian entry in the western Mediterranean, living in a cooling vat of a saltworks system in western Sicily (MED), were assessed by estimating throughout a season the relative abundance of a stable carbon isotope (δ13C) in particulate organic matter (POM), sedimentary organic matter (SOM), primary organic matter sources (seagrasses, sand microflora, macroalgae), Brachidontes pharaonis and its biodeposition material. In the saltworks the most enriched primary food source potentially fuelling the saltworks food web was Cymodocea nodosa (seasonal average -7.9±0.6‰), Laurencia papillosa and Cystoseira sp., which represented the predominant macroalgae (seasonal average -19.0±1. 0‰) and sand microflora δ13C (-14.7±0.11‰) . POM annual mean δ13C was -17.4±0.9‰, and that of SOM was -17.0±2.3‰. The seasonal mean isotopic value of B. pharaonis was -14.7±0.7‰; while its faeces was more depleted (-17.7±2.4‰), while the pseudofaeces (-14.6±3.6‰) was similar to somatic B. pharaonis in composition. Our study showed that Brachidontes assimilated mostly mixed sedimentary organic carbon re-arranged via a detritus route dominated mainly by macroalgae and sand microflora and that it was able to exploit almost all the predominant carbon sources available in its colonised environment both directly (sand microflora) and indirectly via the POM/SOM detritus route. These carbon sources incorporated most of the environmental variability relative to the isotopic composition of primary producers (about -11‰ throughout the year).