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1.  Inorganic carbon fixation by chemosynthetic ectosymbionts and nutritional transfers to the hydrothermal vent host-shrimp Rimicaris exoculata 
The ISME Journal  2012;7(1):96-109.
The shrimp Rimicaris exoculata dominates several hydrothermal vent ecosystems of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and is thought to be a primary consumer harbouring a chemoautotrophic bacterial community in its gill chamber. The aim of the present study was to test current hypotheses concerning the epibiont's chemoautotrophy, and the mutualistic character of this association. In-vivo experiments were carried out in a pressurised aquarium with isotope-labelled inorganic carbon (NaH13CO3 and NaH14CO3) in the presence of two different electron donors (Na2S2O3 and Fe2+) and with radiolabelled organic compounds (14C-acetate and 3H-lysine) chosen as potential bacterial substrates and/or metabolic by-products in experiments mimicking transfer of small biomolecules from epibionts to host. The bacterial epibionts were found to assimilate inorganic carbon by chemoautotrophy, but many of them (thick filaments of epsilonproteobacteria) appeared versatile and able to switch between electron donors, including organic compounds (heterotrophic acetate and lysine uptake). At least some of them (thin filamentous gammaproteobacteria) also seem capable of internal energy storage that could supply chemosynthetic metabolism for hours under conditions of electron donor deprivation. As direct nutritional transfer from bacteria to host was detected, the association appears as true mutualism. Import of soluble bacterial products occurs by permeation across the gill chamber integument, rather than via the digestive tract. This first demonstration of such capabilities in a decapod crustacean supports the previously discarded hypothesis of transtegumental absorption of dissolved organic matter or carbon as a common nutritional pathway.
PMCID: PMC3526180  PMID: 22914596
autoradiography; chemosynthetic ectosymbiosis; Crustacea; isotopes; Rimicaris exoculata; transtegumental transfer
2.  Trophic Relationships and Habitat Preferences of Delphinids from the Southeastern Brazilian Coast Determined by Carbon and Nitrogen Stable Isotope Composition 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e82205.
To investigate the foraging habitats of delphinids in southeastern Brazil, we analyzed stable carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) isotopes in muscle samples of the following 10 delphinid species: Sotalia guianensis, Stenella frontalis, Tursiops truncatus, Steno bredanensis, Pseudorca crassidens, Delphinus sp., Lagenodelphis hosei, Stenella attenuata, Stenella longirostris and Grampus griseus. We also compared the δ13C and δ15N values among four populations of S. guianensis. Variation in carbon isotope results from coast to ocean indicated that there was a significant decrease in δ13C values from estuarine dolphins to oceanic species. S. guianensis from Guanabara Bay had the highest mean δ13C value, while oceanic species showed significantly lower δ13C values. The highest δ15N values were observed for P. crassidens and T. truncatus, suggesting that these species occupy the highest trophic position among the delphinids studied here. The oceanic species S. attenuata, G. griseus and L. hosei had the lowest δ15N values. Stable isotope analysis showed that the three populations of S. guianensis in coastal bays had different δ13C values, but similar δ15N results. Guiana dolphins from Sepetiba and Ilha Grande bays had different foraging habitat, with specimens from Ilha Grande showing more negative δ13C values. This study provides further information on the feeding ecology of delphinids occurring in southeastern Brazil, with evidence of distinctive foraging habitats and the occupation of different ecological niches by these species in the study area.
PMCID: PMC3864921  PMID: 24358155
3.  Mismatch between shape changes and ecological shifts during the post-settlement growth of the surgeonfish, Acanthurus triostegus 
Many coral reef fishes undergo habitat and diet shifts during ontogeny. However, studies focusing on the physiological and morphological adaptations that may prepare them for these transitions are relatively scarce. Here, we explored the body shape variation related to ontogenetic shifts in the ecology of the surgeonfish Acanthurus triostegus (Acanthuridae) from new settler to adult stages at Moorea Island (French Polynesia). Specifically, we tested the relationship between diet and habitat shifts and changes in overall body shape during the ontogeny of A. triostegus using a combination of geometric morphometric methods, stomach contents and stable isotope analysis.
After reef settlement, stable isotope composition of carbon and nitrogen revealed a change from a zooplanktivorous to a benthic algae diet. The large amount of algae (> 75% of stomach contents) found in the digestive tract of small juveniles (25–30 mm SL) suggested the diet shift is rapid. The post-settlement growth of A. triostegus is highly allometric. The allometric shape changes mainly concern cephalic and pectoral regions. The head becomes shorter and more ventrally oriented during growth. Morphological changes are directly related to the diet shift given that a small mouth ventrally oriented is particularly suited for grazing activities at the adult stage. The pectoral fin is more anteriorely and vertically positioned and its basis is larger in adults than in juveniles. This shape variation had implications for swimming performance, manoeuvrability, turning ability and is related to habitat shift. Acanthurus triostegus achieves its main transformation of body shape to an adult-like form at size of 35–40 mm SL.
Most of the shape changes occurred after the reef colonization but before the transition between juvenile habitat (fringing reef) and adult habitat (barrier reef). A large amount of allometric variation was observed after diet shift from zooplankton to benthic algae. Diet shift could act as an environmental factor favouring or inducing morphological changes. On the other hand, the main shape changes have to be achieved before the recruitment to adult populations and start negotiating the biophysical challenges of locomotion and feeding in wave- and current-swept outer reef habitat.
PMCID: PMC3495409  PMID: 22533865
Acanthuridae; Allometry; Diet; Geometric morphometrics; Habitat change; Moorea Island; Reef fishes
4.  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
5.  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

Results 1-5 (5)