Biogeosciences, 11, 4001-4014, 2014
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-11-4001-2014
© Author(s) 2014. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
31 Jul 2014
Resource utilization and trophic position of nematodes and harpacticoid copepods in and adjacent to Zostera noltii beds
A.-M. Vafeiadou1,2, P. Materatski3, H. Adão4, M. De Troch1, and T. Moens1 1Ghent University, Marine Biology Lab, Department of Biology, Krijgslaan 281/S8, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
2Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, School of Biology, Department of Zoology, 54124 Thessaloniki, Greece
3University of Évora, School of Sciences and Technology, NemaLab c/o IMAR, Apartado 94, 7002-554 Évora, Portugal
4University of Évora, School of Sciences and Technology, CO-CIEMAR c/o NemaLab, Apartado 94, 7002-554 Évora, Portugal
Abstract. This study examines the resource use and trophic position of nematodes and harpacticoid copepods at the genus/species level in an estuarine food web in Zostera noltii beds and in adjacent bare sediments using the natural abundance of stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes. Microphytobenthos and/or epiphytes are among the main resources of most taxa, but seagrass detritus and sediment particulate organic matter contribute as well to meiobenthos nutrition, which are also available in deeper sediment layers and in unvegetated patches close to seagrass beds. A predominant dependence on chemoautotrophic bacteria was demonstrated for the nematode genus Terschellingia and the copepod family Cletodidae. A predatory feeding mode is illustrated for Paracomesoma and other Comesomatidae, which were previously considered first-level consumers (deposit feeders) according to their buccal morphology. The considerable variation found in both resource use and trophic level among nematode genera from the same feeding type, and even among congeneric nematode species, shows that the interpretation of nematode feeding ecology based purely on mouth morphology should be avoided.

Citation: Vafeiadou, A.-M., Materatski, P., Adão, H., De Troch, M., and Moens, T.: Resource utilization and trophic position of nematodes and harpacticoid copepods in and adjacent to Zostera noltii beds, Biogeosciences, 11, 4001-4014, https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-11-4001-2014, 2014.
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