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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2017-12-19
    Description: Quantifying biotic feedbacks in response to environmental signals is fundamental to assess ecosystem perturbation. We analyzed the joint effects of eutrophication, derived from sewage pollution, and climate at the base of the pelagic food web in the Bahía Blanca Estuary (SW Atlantic Ocean). A two-year survey of environmental conditions and microplankton communities was conducted in two sites affected by contrasting anthropogenic eutrophication conditions. Under severe eutrophication, we found higher phytoplankton abundance consistently dominated by smaller sized, non siliceous species, while microzooplankton abundance remained lower and nutrient stoichiometry showed conspicuous deviations from the Redfield ratio. Phytoplankton growth in such conditions appeared controlled by phosphorous. In turn, microplankton biomass and phytoplankton size ratio (〈20. μm:〉20. μm) displayed a saturation relationship with nutrients in the highly eutrophic area, although mean phytoplankton growth was similar in both eutrophic systems. The strength of links within the estuarine network, quantified through path analysis, showed enhanced relationships under larger anthropogenic eutrophication, which fostered the climate influence on microplankton communities. Our results show conspicuous effects of severe sewage pollution on the ecological stoichiometry, i.e., N and P excess with respect to Si, altering nutrient ratios for microplankton communities. This warns on wide consequences on food web dynamics and ultimately in ecosystem assets of coastal pelagic environments.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed , info:eu-repo/semantics/article
    Format: text
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2014-06-03
    Description: Few studies have been made on planktonic food webs of temperate ecosystems, especially those from the Southern Atlantic Ocean, using molecular biomarkers. The fatty acid compositions of suspended particulate matter (SPM), microplankton and mesozooplankton were studied during summer and winter at a sewage-impacted and a control site in the Bahıa Blanca Estuary (Argentina). The aim was to identify trophic relationships on a spatial and seasonal scale and to detect allochthonous inputs to the food web. Fatty acid trends were consistent with the seasonal succession of the plankton community structure supporting our underlying hypothesis that regional seasonality is mostly responsible for changes in fatty acid composition. Sewage had no clear impact on the fatty acids and may not be a significant source of SPM in the estuary. However, at the sewage site the composition of the SPM was more related to terrestrially derived compounds, diatoms and bacteria, and mesozooplankton fatty acids suggested grazing on terrestrial components and on diatoms over flagellates. Saltmarshes likely have a crucial role as the main contributors to the organic fraction of SPM followed by plankton. The seasonal fatty acid pattern of the mesozooplankton indicated different feeding strategies suggesting an active feeding mode during summer and a more terrestrially associated diet in winter. The fatty acid trophic marker approach provided relevant information to clarify planktonic trophic interactions and to trace the origin of organic matter in this highly dynamic temperate coastal system.
    Repository Name: EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut
    Type: Article , NonPeerReviewed
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2019-09-23
    Description: Fluctuations in abundance of dominant species can cause competitive release of resources with consequences on community structure and functioning. In the present study, changes in the intertidal macroinfauna community of an exposed sandy beach were evaluated during two contrasting periods characterized by low and high densities of the yellow clam Amarilladesma mactroides. The increase in clam abundance and biomass was associated with a significant decrease in abundance of the rest of the community. In particular, a decline was observed for the pea crab Austinixa patagoniensis, a commensal species that lives in the burrows of the shrimp Sergio mirim. Our study demonstrates that fluctuations in clam abundance lead to long-term changes in community structure, suggesting the presence of competitive interactions. The environmental stability over the two periods strengthens the hypothesis that the competition between species is crucial for shaping the ecological community. Stable isotope analysis allows discarding trophic competition as mechanism of exclusion. Image maps reveal complementary distribution of species, showing the relevance of the spatial competition, which is mediated by changes in abundance of a third species. Indeed, high densities of A. mactroides reduce the available area for the establishment of the S. mirim burrows, limiting the foraging behavior of its commensal, the pea crab. Such an interaction drives density-dependent exclusion of the pea crab from the intertidal zone following the establishment of the yellow clam population. This study illustrates that spatial competition triggered by the increase of a bed-forming species can have community-wide consequences in exposed sandy beaches
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
    Format: text
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2012-01-02
    Description: Berasategui, A. A., Hoffmeyer, M. S., Dutto, M. S., and Biancalana, F. 2012. Seasonal variation in the egg morphology of the copepod Eurytemora americana and its relationship with reproductive strategy in a temperate estuary in Argentina. – ICES Journal of Marine Science, 69: 380–388. Seasonal variation in the morphology of Eurytemora americana eggs and its relationship with reproductive strategy were studied in the Bahía Blanca Estuary. Eggs from field females were analysed morphologically by optical (OM) and electron microscopy [scanning electron microscopy (SEM)–transmission electron microscopy (TEM)] during the population pulse. Additionally, egg-carrying females were incubated simulating in situ environmental conditions to evaluate the resting egg character. Subitaneous and resting eggs were indistinguishable by OM, but showed different chorion appearance under SEM and TEM. Sinuous patterned chorion eggs, mainly produced during the period of population growth, were classed as subitaneous eggs based on their high level of hatching success. Eggs with a sponge-like appearance, produced after the population peaked, were classed as diapause eggs based on their inability to hatch even under favourable conditions. There were significant differences in egg size through the population pulse and diapause eggs were significantly bigger than subitaneous eggs. The observation of both morphotypes in egg-carrying females after peak population abundance confirms the existence of a transitional reproductive stage before the exclusive production of diapause eggs at the end of the pulse. Diapause egg production enables E. americana to resist adverse conditions, ensuring its survival in temperate estuaries.
    Print ISSN: 1054-3139
    Electronic ISSN: 1095-9289
    Topics: Biology , Geosciences , Physics
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2012-01-12
    Description: Dutto, M. S., López Abbate, M. C., Biancalana, F., Berasategui, A. A., and Hoffmeyer, M. S. 2012. The impact of sewage on environmental quality and the mesozooplankton community in a highly eutrophic estuary in Argentina. – ICES Journal of Marine Science, 69: 399–409. Eutrophication caused by human sewage is a growing phenomenon along coasts. Mesozooplankton abundance, community structure, and environmental quality were compared at two sites in the inner Bahía Blanca Estuary (BBE), Argentina, one receiving regional sewage discharge (Canal Vieja), and the other a non-impacted area (Bahía del Medio). Comparisons of mean abundance and multivariate analyses were performed to detect spatial and temporal variations in both environmental and biotic variables. Significantly higher amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus and lower oxygen and pH were recorded at Canal Vieja. Larvae of the detritivorous crab Neohelice granulata were more abundant at Canal Vieja, whereas the common estuarine copepod species Acartia tonsa was more abundant at Bahía del Medio, where the mesozooplankton community was typical for the estuary. Although mesozooplankton is likely to be adapted to the high organic matter content in the BBE, the environmental conditions at Canal Vieja appear to favour Neohelice granulata, and this species should be considered as a potential indicator of the impact of sewage in future monitoring programmes. Particulate organic carbon and chlorophyll a were not influenced by organic loading in this naturally eutrophic estuary.
    Print ISSN: 1054-3139
    Electronic ISSN: 1095-9289
    Topics: Biology , Geosciences , Physics
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2012-01-05
    Description: Menéndez, M. C., Dutto, M. S., Piccolo, M. C., and Hoffmeyer, M. S. 2012. The role of the seasonal and semi-diurnal tidal cycle on mesozooplankton variability in a shallow mixed estuary (Bahía Blanca, Argentina). – ICES Journal of Marine Science, 69: 389–398. The role of the seasonal and semi-diurnal tidal cycle on mesozooplankton dynamics was investigated in the inner zone of the Bahía Blanca Estuary (BBE), Argentina. Hydrological data and mesozooplankton samples were obtained bimonthly from December 2004 to April 2006, during 14 h tidal cycles. The mesozooplankton community was represented by 33 taxa. Taxa richness was greater near the bottom, where the contribution of benthic forms was notable. Abundances were greatest during summer (〉5500 ind. m−3) and lowest during winter (
    Print ISSN: 1054-3139
    Electronic ISSN: 1095-9289
    Topics: Biology , Geosciences , Physics
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