Macroalgae, in particular kelps, produce a large amount of biomass in Kongsfjorden, which is to a great extent released into the water in an annual cycle. As an example, the brown alga Alaria esculenta loses its blade gradually, 3±0.8% of the blade area per day (August 2012), thereby adding to the pool of particulate organic matter (POM) in the fjord. Upon release small thallus pieces are “aging” in that they are prone to leaching and serving as substrate for microorganisms, thus turning into palatable food for suspension and bottom feeders. In order to define a macroalgal baseline for the Kongsfjorden food web, stable isotopes δ14C and δ15N were measured in individuals of Alaria esculenta, Saccharina latissima and Laminaria digitata directly sampled after collection and in artificially produced POM (aPOM) of A. esculenta that was allowed to age under experimental conditions. In aPOM from this species sampled in August 2012 the C/N ratios decreased between d1 and d8 of a 14 day culture period in parallel to the fading photosynthetic activity of the algal fragments as demonstrated by use of an Imaging-PAM. Microscopic observations of the aPOM in August 2012 and 2013 revealed the frequent occurrence of small brown algal endo- and epiphytes. First feeding experiments with Mysis oculata (Mysids) and Hiatella arctica (Bivalves) showed that these species can ingest macroalgal POM. The importance of kelp-derived POM for the food web is subject of the current research.
Helmholtz Research Programs > PACES II (2014-2018) > TOPIC 2: Fragile coasts and shelf sea > WP 2.3: Evolution and adaptation to climate change and anthropogenic stress in coastal and shelf systems