Inputs of anthropogenic nitrogen influence isotopic composition and trophic structure in SE Australian estuaries

Debashish Mazumder*, Neil Saintilan, Brendan Alderson, Suzanne Hollins

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    12 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Urban development in coastal settings has increased the input of nitrogen into estuaries globally, in many cases changing the composition of estuarine ecosystems. By focussing on three adjacent estuaries with a gradient of anthropogenic N loadings, we used stable isotopes of N and C to test for changes due to increased anthropogenic N input on the structure of some key trophic linkages in estuaries. We found a consistent enrichment in δ15N corresponding to increased anthropogenic N at the three ecosystem levels studied: fine benthic organic matter, grazing invertebrate, and planktivorous fish. The degree of enrichment in δ15N between fine benthic organic matter and the grapsid crab Parasesarma erythrodactyla was identical across the three sites. The glassfish Ambassis jacksoniensis showed lower levels of enrichment compared to basal food sources at the higher N-loaded sites, suggesting a possible effect of anthropogenic N in decreasing food-chain length in these estuaries.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)217-223
    Number of pages7
    JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
    Volume100
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2015

    Keywords

    • Anthropogenic N
    • Estuaries
    • Stable isotopes
    • Trophic linkages

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