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1.  Long-term feeding ecology and habitat use in harbour porpoises Phocoena phocoena from Scandinavian waters inferred from trace elements and stable isotopes 
BMC Ecology  2007;7:1.
We investigated the feeding ecology and habitat use of 32 harbour porpoises by-caught in 4 localities along the Scandinavian coast from the North Sea to the Barents Sea using time-integrative markers: stable isotopes (δ13C, δ15N) and trace elements (Zn, Cu, Fe, Se, total Hg and Cd), in relation to habitat characteristics (bathymetry) and geographic position (latitude).
Among the trace elements analysed, only Cd, with an oceanic specific food origin, was found to be useful as an ecological tracer. All other trace elements studied were not useful, most likely because of physiological regulation and/or few specific sources in the food web. The δ13C, δ15N signatures and Cd levels were highly correlated with each other, as well as with local bathymetry and geographic position (latitude). Variation in the isotopic ratios indicated a shift in harbour porpoise's feeding habits from pelagic prey species in deep northern waters to more coastal and/or demersal prey in the relatively shallow North Sea and Skagerrak waters. This result is consistent with stomach content analyses found in the literature. This shift was associated with a northward Cd-enrichment which provides further support to the Cd 'anomaly' previously reported in polar waters and suggests that porpoises in deep northern waters include Cd-contaminated prey in their diet, such as oceanic cephalopods.
As stable isotopes and Cd provide information in the medium and the long term respectively, the spatial variation found, shows that harbour porpoises experience different ecological regimes during the year along the Scandinavian coasts, adapting their feeding habits to local oceanographic conditions, without performing extensive migration.
PMCID: PMC1781931  PMID: 17229317
2.  Trace metal concentrations in Posidonia oceanica of North Corsica (northwestern Mediterranean Sea): use as a biological monitor? 
BMC Ecology  2006;6:12.
Within semi-closed areas like the Mediterranean Sea, anthropic wastes tend to concentrate in the environment. Metals, in particular, are known to persist in the environment and can affect human health due to accumulation in the food chain. The seagrass Posidonia oceanica, widely found in Mediterranean coastal waters, has been chosen as a "sentinel" to quantify the distribution of such pollutants within the marine environment. Using a technique similar to dendrochronology in trees, it can act as an indicator of pollutant levels over a timeframe of several months to years. In the present study, we measured and compared the levels of eight trace metals (Cr, Ni, Cu, Zn, As, Se, Cd, and Pb) in sheaths dated by lepidochronology and in leaves of shoots sampled from P. oceanica meadows collected from six offshore sites in northern Corsica between 1988 and 2004; in the aim to determine 1) the spatial and 2) temporal variations of these metals in these areas and 3) to compared these two types of tissues.
We found low trace metal concentrations with no increase over the last decade, confirming the potential use of Corsican seagrass beds as reference sites for the Mediterranean Sea. Temporal trends of trace metal concentrations in sheaths were not significant for Cr, Ni, Cu, As or Se, but Zn, Cd, and Pb levels decreased, probably due to the reduced anthropic use of these metals. Similar temporal trends between Cu levels in leaves (living tissue) and in sheaths (dead tissue) demonstrated that lepidochronology linked with Cu monitoring is effective for surveying the temporal variability of this metal.
Leaves of P. oceanica can give an indication of the metal concentration in the environment over a short time period (months) with good accuracy. On the contrary, sheaths, which gave an indication of changes over long time periods (decades), seem to be less sensitive to variations in the metal concentration in the environment. Changes in human consumption of metals (e.g., the reduction of Pb in fuel) are clearly reflected in both organs. These results confirm that P. oceanica is a good bioindicator of metals and a good biomonitor species for assessing Cu in the environment.
PMCID: PMC1584234  PMID: 16965615
3.  Posidonia oceanica meadow: a low nutrient high chlorophyll (LNHC) system? 
BMC Ecology  2002;2:9.
In spite of very low nutrient concentrations in its vicinity – both column and pore waters-, the Posidonia oceanica of the Revellata Bay displays high biomass and productivity. We measured the nutrient fluxes from the sediment into the water enclosed among the leaf shoots ("canopy water") to determine if it is possible source of nutrients for P. oceanica leaves.
During the summer, the canopy water appears to act as a nutrient reservoir for the plant. During that period, the canopy water layer displays both a temperature 0.5°C cooler than the upper water column, and a much higher nutrient content, as shown in this work using a very simple original technique permitting to sample water with a minimal disturbance of the water column's vertical structure.
Despite low nutrient concentrations in pore water, mean net fluxes were measured from the sediment to the canopy water. These fluxes are sufficient to provide 20% of the mean daily nitrogen and phosphorus requirement of the P. oceanica shoots.
An internal cycling of nutrients from P. oceanica senescent leaves was previously noted as an efficient strategy to help face low nutrient availability. The present study points out a second strategy which consists in holding back, in the canopy, the nutrients released at the water-sediment interface. This process occurs when long leaves, during poor nutrient periods in the water column, providing, to P. oceanica, the possibility to develop, high biomass, high chlorophyll quantities in low nutrient environment (a Low Nutrients High Chlorophyll system).
PMCID: PMC122073  PMID: 12188926

Results 1-3 (3)