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An analysis of the trophic network of a macrotidal estuary: the Seine Estuary (Eastern Channel, Normandy, France)

TitreAn analysis of the trophic network of a macrotidal estuary: the Seine Estuary (Eastern Channel, Normandy, France)
Type de publicationJournal Article
Year of Publication2003
AuteursRybarczyk, H, Elkaim, B
JournalEstuarine Coastal and Shelf Science

A steady state, mass balance, trophic network has been constructed to illustrate the flow of energy in the Seine Estuary by using Network Analysis and Ecopath methods. This ecosystem shows 15 compartments from primary producers to the top consumers (fish and birds). This study has been compared with other ecosystems of comparable nature located in North America (Narragansett, Chesapeake, Delaware Bays), Europe (Ems Estuary, Dublin Bay and Bay of Somme), and South Africa (Swartkops Estuary) in which analysis of trophic network has been applied with similar methods. The Seine Estuary shows values of some global parameters and indices either close to large North American bays and a South African estuary characterised by the complexity of their trophic network, or values near European bays and estuaries, or else remain typical of the Seine estuary. All of this reflects specific functioning of the Seine Estuary which can be explained by the analysis of the dominant food web. In the upstream sector an important pelagic food web was found correlated with highest primary production, especially planktonic, which is rapidly consumed by an abundant zooplankton and suprabenthos (Mysidacae and Decapoda Crustacca). This reveals the dominant consumer role of this sector. The external fluvial inputs (277.80 gC m(-2) y(-1)) are transferred to the downstream sector which produces the major export (548.43 gC m(-2) y(-1)), in parallel with the low consumption and efficiency of dominant benthos component from its bentho-pelagic food web. This reflects the dominant exporter role of this sector. In the Seine Estuary low values of detritivory index D/H (2.52), recycling index FCI (16.1%) and connectance (0.24) were found associated with high values of P/B ratio (38.2%), sum of exports (548.43 gC m(-2) y(-1)) and the great difference between ratio of ascendency to capacity development A/C and internal ratio A(i)/C-i. This shows the lack of a dominant resource as in Delaware Bay, that the state of development is different from a mature ecosystem, and the dependance on external connections similar to the Bay of Somme, another ecosystem of Eastern Channel, France. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.