Tracing carbon flow through coral reef food webs using a compound-specific stable isotope approach

Handle URI:
http://hdl.handle.net/10754/595130
Title:
Tracing carbon flow through coral reef food webs using a compound-specific stable isotope approach
Authors:
McMahon, Kelton ( 0000-0002-9648-4614 ) ; Thorrold, Simon R.; Houghton, Leah A.; Berumen, Michael L. ( 0000-0003-2463-2742 )
Abstract:
Coral reefs support spectacularly productive and diverse communities in tropical and sub-tropical waters throughout the world’s oceans. Debate continues, however, on the degree to which reef biomass is supported by new water column production, benthic primary production, and recycled detrital carbon (C). We coupled compound-specific stable C isotope ratio (δ13C) analyses with Bayesian mixing models to quantify C flow from primary producers to coral reef fishes across multiple feeding guilds and trophic positions in the Red Sea. Analyses of reef fishes with putative diets composed primarily of zooplankton (Amblyglyphidodon indicus), benthic macroalgae (Stegastes nigricans), reef-associated detritus (Ctenochaetus striatus), and coral tissue (Chaetodon trifascialis) confirmed that δ13C values of essential amino acids from all baseline C sources were both isotopically diagnostic and accurately recorded in consumer tissues. While all four source end-members contributed to the production of coral reef fishes in our study, a single-source end-member often dominated dietary C assimilation of a given species, even for highly mobile, generalist top predators. Microbially reworked detritus was an important secondary C source for most species. Seascape configuration played an important role in structuring resource utilization patterns. For instance, Lutjanus ehrenbergii showed a significant shift from a benthic macroalgal food web on shelf reefs (71 ± 13 % of dietary C) to a phytoplankton-based food web (72 ± 11 %) on oceanic reefs. Our work provides insights into the roles that diverse C sources play in the structure and function of coral reef ecosystems and illustrates a powerful fingerprinting method to develop and test nutritional frameworks for understanding resource utilization.
KAUST Department:
Biological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering (BESE) Division; Red Sea Research Center (RSRC)
Citation:
Tracing carbon flow through coral reef food webs using a compound-specific stable isotope approach 2015 Oecologia
Publisher:
Springer Science + Business Media
Journal:
Oecologia
Issue Date:
21-Nov-2015
DOI:
10.1007/s00442-015-3475-3
PubMed ID:
26590916
Type:
Article
ISSN:
0029-8549; 1432-1939
Additional Links:
http://link.springer.com/10.1007/s00442-015-3475-3
Appears in Collections:
Articles; Red Sea Research Center (RSRC); Biological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering (BESE) Division

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.contributor.authorMcMahon, Keltonen
dc.contributor.authorThorrold, Simon R.en
dc.contributor.authorHoughton, Leah A.en
dc.contributor.authorBerumen, Michael L.en
dc.date.accessioned2016-01-28T08:47:31Zen
dc.date.available2016-01-28T08:47:31Zen
dc.date.issued2015-11-21en
dc.identifier.citationTracing carbon flow through coral reef food webs using a compound-specific stable isotope approach 2015 Oecologiaen
dc.identifier.issn0029-8549en
dc.identifier.issn1432-1939en
dc.identifier.pmid26590916-
dc.identifier.doi10.1007/s00442-015-3475-3en
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10754/595130en
dc.description.abstractCoral reefs support spectacularly productive and diverse communities in tropical and sub-tropical waters throughout the world’s oceans. Debate continues, however, on the degree to which reef biomass is supported by new water column production, benthic primary production, and recycled detrital carbon (C). We coupled compound-specific stable C isotope ratio (δ13C) analyses with Bayesian mixing models to quantify C flow from primary producers to coral reef fishes across multiple feeding guilds and trophic positions in the Red Sea. Analyses of reef fishes with putative diets composed primarily of zooplankton (Amblyglyphidodon indicus), benthic macroalgae (Stegastes nigricans), reef-associated detritus (Ctenochaetus striatus), and coral tissue (Chaetodon trifascialis) confirmed that δ13C values of essential amino acids from all baseline C sources were both isotopically diagnostic and accurately recorded in consumer tissues. While all four source end-members contributed to the production of coral reef fishes in our study, a single-source end-member often dominated dietary C assimilation of a given species, even for highly mobile, generalist top predators. Microbially reworked detritus was an important secondary C source for most species. Seascape configuration played an important role in structuring resource utilization patterns. For instance, Lutjanus ehrenbergii showed a significant shift from a benthic macroalgal food web on shelf reefs (71 ± 13 % of dietary C) to a phytoplankton-based food web (72 ± 11 %) on oceanic reefs. Our work provides insights into the roles that diverse C sources play in the structure and function of coral reef ecosystems and illustrates a powerful fingerprinting method to develop and test nutritional frameworks for understanding resource utilization.en
dc.language.isoenen
dc.publisherSpringer Science + Business Mediaen
dc.relation.urlhttp://link.springer.com/10.1007/s00442-015-3475-3en
dc.rightsThe final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00442-015-3475-3en
dc.subjectAmino acidsen
dc.subjectBayesian mixing modelen
dc.subjectDieten
dc.subjectFishen
dc.subjectRed Seaen
dc.titleTracing carbon flow through coral reef food webs using a compound-specific stable isotope approachen
dc.typeArticleen
dc.contributor.departmentBiological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering (BESE) Divisionen
dc.contributor.departmentRed Sea Research Center (RSRC)en
dc.identifier.journalOecologiaen
dc.eprint.versionPost-printen
dc.contributor.institutionBiology Department, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA, 02543, USAen
dc.contributor.institutionInstitute of Marine Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA, 95064, USAen
dc.contributor.affiliationKing Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)en
kaust.authorMcMahon, Keltonen
kaust.authorBerumen, Michael L.en

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