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Spatial variability in the trophic ecology and biology of the deep-sea shrimp Aristaeomorpha foliacea in the Mediterranean Sea

February 18, 2014

The trophic ecology, energy and reproductive states of the deep-water shrimp Aristaeomorpha foliacea, widely distributed along the slopes of the Mediterranean Sea Basins, were analysed in eight areas spread along ca. 3000 km in order to identify patterns in the habitat conditions supporting the species. From W to E the areas were situated between the north side of Eivissa (39°12′ N, 1° 20′ E, in the Balearic Basin) and off Mersin, Turkey (36°15′ N, 34° 19′ E, in the Levantine Sea). Trends identified mainly as a function of longitude from west to east were: i) higher δ15N, parallel to δ15N shifts in the top 200m of the water column for particulate organic N ( Pantoja et al., 2002). The δ15N trend indicates that the deep trophic web, i. e. A. foliacea at 400–600 m, reflects the δ15N signal of the photic zone. ii) a similar significant trend of δ13C, related with exploitation of pelagic versus benthic resources by A. foliacea in each area (i.e. by local variability of terrigenous inputs via submarine canyons). More depleted δ13C was found at mid-longitudes (Tyrrhenian Sea and Sicily Channel) linked to higher consumption of macroplankton prey (Pasiphaea spp., euphausiids and mesopelagic fishes). The feeding intensity (gut fullness, F) and prey diversity (J) of A. foliacea were related, according to Generalized Linear Models, with the temperature and salinity of intermediate waters, variables in turn associated with latitude and longitude. Both F and J were higher in areas with greater shrimp density. The optimal ecological habitat of A. foliacea appears to be located in the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Sicily Channel, where we found the highest F, the greatest trophic diversity and A. foliacea in the best biological condition (i.e., with higher hepato-somatic index, HSI). These are also the areas with the highest densities of A. foliacea. In contrast, in the western Mediterranean Sea (Balearic Basin and the southern Balearic Islands), where A. foliacea has low densities, the shrimp showed generally lower values of trophic indicators and biological condition.

Cartes JE, Fanelli E, Kapiris K, Bayhan YK, LigasA, López-Pérez C, Murenu C, Papiol V, Rumolo P, Scarcella G, in press: Spatial variability in the trophic ecology and biology of the deep-sea shrimp Aristaeomorpha foliacea in the Mediterranean Sea, Deep Sea Research part I: Oceanographic Research Papers, doi: 10.1016/j.dsr.2014.01.006. Article.


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