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Variability in the carbon isotope signature of Prochilodus lineatus (Prochilodontidae, Characiformes) a bottom-feeding fish of the Neotropical region

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The spatial and seasonal variability of stable carbon isotopes in detritivorous Prochilodus lineatus, primary producers and particulate organic carbon (POC) were examined to promote a better understanding of the trophic dynamics of food webs in Neotropical ecosystems. Spatial variability in carbon isotope composition in the species showed a decreasing gradient in the Upper Paraná River system, from the Paraná River and Itaipu Reservoir subsystems to the Baía and Ivinheima subsystems. Fish 13C followed the isotopic trend of POC along the Paraná River and Baía subsystem. Seasonal differences were not observed in fish. The analysis of percentile contribution of C3 and C4 sources in the species diet revealed the predominance of C3 plants (phytoplanktonic and periphytic algae and riparian vegetation) in most of the analysed subsystems and seasons. Nevertheless, the considerable participation of riparian vegetation was verified, especially in the Ivinheima subsystem in the dry season. C4 macrophytes presented a maximum contribution along the Upper Paraná River. These results demonstrate the existence of specific variability for the consumer and their food sources in different environments of the same ecosystem.

Keywords: Paraná River; Prochilodus lineatus; energy sources; spatial and seasonal variability; 13C

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: Centro de Energia Nuclear na Agricultura (CENA), Universidade de São Paulo (USP), Avenida Centenário, 303, São Dimas, CEP 13400-000, Piracicaba, Brasil

Publication date: June 1, 2007

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