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Efficiencies of benthic and pelagic trophic pathways in a subalpine lake

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Although the study of lakes has traditionally focused on pelagic production pathways, recent stable isotope and diet evidence indicates that benthic algal production is an important contributor to fish production. This has led to the suggestion that energy may be more efficiently passed along benthic food chains relative to their pelagic counterparts. To test this idea, we combined stable isotope based assessments of energy flow pathways with estimates of pelagic- and benthic-based primary and secondary production in Castle Lake, California. Approximately 50% of whole-lake primary production and 30% of whole-lake secondary production occurred in benthic habitats. Stable carbon isotopes and dietary data indicated that fish were predominantly supported by benthic (63%) and terrestrial (24%) secondary production. Ecological efficiencies (algal production / invertebrate production) were low in Castle Lake (<3%), though zoobenthic production was more efficiently passed to fish than was zooplankton production. The larger size of benthic prey relative to pelagic prey may affect fish prey selection and foraging efficiency, resulting in differences in ecological efficiency between pelagic and benthic trophic pathways.

Alors que l'étude des lacs s'est traditionnellement concentrée sur les voies de production pélagiques, des données récentes provenant d'études des isotopes stables et des régimes alimentaires indiquent que la production des algues benthiques contribue de façon substantielle à la production de poissons. En conséquence, on a suggéré que l'énergie peut être transmise plus efficacement par les chaînes trophiques benthiques que par les chaînes pélagiques correspondantes. Afin de vérifier cette proposition, nous combinons des évaluations des voies du flux énergétique faites à l'aide d'isotopes stables avec des estimations des productions primaire et secondaire, tant pélagique que benthique, au lac Castle, Californie. Environ 50 % de la production primaire du lac entier et 30 % de la production secondaire du lac entier se réalisent dans les habitats benthiques. Les données d'isotopes stables de carbone et les analyses des régimes alimentaires indiquent que les poissons sont surtout alimentés par la production secondaire du benthos (63 %) et du milieu terrestre (24 %). Les efficacités écologiques (production des algues / production des invertébrés) sont faibles au lac Castle (<3 %), bien que la production du zoobenthos soit transmise plus efficacement aux poissons que celle du zooplancton. La taille plus grande des proies benthiques par rapport aux proies pélagiques peut affecter la sélection des proies et l'efficacité de l'alimentation chez les poissons, ce qui entraîne des différences d'efficacité écologique entre les voies trophiques pélagique et benthique.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2006-12-01

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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