Feeding ecology of the sand smelt, Atherina boyeri (Risso, 1810) (Osteichthyes, Atherinidae), in the western Mediterranean: evidence for spatial variability based on stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes

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Abstract

The feeding ecology of the sand smelt Atherina boyeri Risso 1810 (Osteichthyes, Atherinidae) was investigatedin a Mediterranean coastal basin (Stagnone di Marsala, Italy) by means of carbon and nitrogenstable isotope ratios. Sampling was carried out seasonally in 1999 in two locations characterised by differentdepth and vegetal coverage. Throughout the year the sand smelt showed enriched d13C and d15N values inboth sampling locations (d13C about )12& and d15N about 12&). This result suggests the overallimportance of the benthic pathway in the food web leading to A. boyeri. Our isotopic picture is only inpartial agreement with stomach content data from the literature. Stomach contents highlighted that, whileA. boyeri is benthivore in the location with high vegetal coverage, it is able to shift its diet towardzooplankton in the location with higher depth and lower complexity. In our opinion, this discrepancy canbe a consequence of the different temporal scale which stomach contents and stable isotopes are referred to.Contrarily to stomach contents, stable isotope analysis provides time-integrated information on the realdiet averaged over some months or more. We suggest that long-term and short-term diets of the sand smeltdiffer. Zooplankton, due to its low biomass in the study site seems to be exploited scarcely by A. boyeri andits trophic role is detectable only considering the short term diet with stomach contents, while the timeintegrateddiet of A. boyeri seems to be based on benthic prey.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)259-266
Numero di pagine8
RivistaEnvironmental Biology of Fishes
Volume72
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • ???subjectarea.asjc.1100.1105???
  • ???subjectarea.asjc.1100.1104???

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