Identification of Burrowing Shrimp Food Sources Along an Estuarine Gradient Using Fatty Acid Analysis and Stable Isotope Ratios Public Deposited


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  • Two species of burrowing shrimp occur in high densities in US West Coast estuaries, the ghost shrimp, Neotrypaea californiensis, and the blue mud shrimp, Upogebia pugettensis. Both species of shrimp are considered ecosystem engineers as they bioturbate and irrigate extensive galleries within the sediment. While their burrows comprise a dominant habitat type in west coast estuaries, little is known about these shrimps’ diet and their role in estuarine food webs. The primary goals of this study were to identify major components of burrowing shrimp diets and detect variation in these diets along an estuarine gradient using combined fatty acid (FA) and stable isotope (SI) analyses. Shrimp and potential food sources including eelgrass blades, epiphytes, Ulva, sedimentary particulate organic matter (SPOM), burrow walls, and particulate organic material (POM) were sampled at different locations within Yaquina Bay, Oregon in August 2012. Both SI and FA analyses indicated differences in food resources assimilated by shrimp along the estuarine gradient. SI values showed that diets for U. pugettensis consisted of carbon sources derived primarily from POM and SPOM, while POM and epiphytes were primary carbon sources for N. californiensis. Shrimp from lower estuarine sites had high levels of 16:1ω7 and 20:5ω3 FAs suggesting their diet is enriched with marine diatoms. Shrimp from upriver showed greater proportion of FA associated with dinoflagellates and terrestrial sources as indicated by a high percentage of C18 polyunsaturated FAs (PUFAs). This is the first study to evaluate diets of these two shrimp species using complimentary FA and SI approaches.
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  • 40
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  • 4
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