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Free Content Role of Seagrasses and Mangroves in Estuarine Food Webs: Temporal and Spatial Changes in Stable Isotope Composition and Amino Acid Content During Decomposition

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Carbon, nitrogen, δ 13C, δ 15N, amino acid composition and D/L-amino acid ratios were measured during the early stages of decomposition of seagrass and mangrove leaves in two south florida estuaries. Isotopic compositions for plants and associated consumers were consistent within an estuary. During decomposition seagrasses showed little change in δ 13C, δ 15N, but showed an increase in the D/L ratio of certain of the amino acids. Mangroves show little δ 13C change but marked reduction in δ 15N and an increase in the D/L ratio of the amino acids. The percentage of total N accounted for by amino acids decreased in the seagrasses over the term of the experiment, but increased for the mangroves. These data suggest a different mode of decomposition for mangroves and seagrasses when decaying under similar conditions. The δ 13C of consumers is closely coupled to the dominant carbon source in each estuary.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 1984

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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