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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 65(5)

Food-web structure in a subtropical coastal lake: how phylogenetic constraints may affect species linkages

Lúcia Ribeiro Rodrigues A C, Nelson Ferreira Fontoura B and David da Motta Marques A

A Laboratório de Ecotecnologia e Limnologia, Instituto de Pesquisas Hidráulicas, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.
B Laboratório de Ecologia Aquática, Faculdade de Biociências, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.
C Corresponding author. Email: luciarrodrigues@gmail.com

Marine and Freshwater Research 65(5) 453-465 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/MF12259
Submitted: 17 September 2012  Accepted: 22 September 2013   Published: 20 December 2013

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To describe a food-web structure is a main goal in any attempt to understand ecosystem functioning. In the present study, we analysed the isotopic composition (δ13C and δ15N) of primary producers and consumers in the large subtropical Mangueira Lake in southern Brazil. On the basis of the δ13C and δ15N values and analysis of stomach contents of several fish species, we provide a description of the food-web structure and trophic positions of the dominant fish species. Analysis of nitrogen isotope ratios indicated the existence of two consumer trophic levels. Isotopic signatures of primary consumers were compatible with those of producers, indicating a food web sustained by autochthonous carbon. Nevertheless, when food items were classified in larger groups by relative size and source, the combined analysis of isotopic signature and feeding preferences revealed a phylogenetically structured arrangement for the fish species of Mangueira Lake. This indicates that the main feeding niches are shared by taxonomically related species.

Additional keywords: energy flow, matter flow, shallow lake, trophic linkage.


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