[MARMAM] New Publication: Reconstructing variability in West Greenland ocean biogeochemistry and bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus) food web structure using amino acid isotope ratios

Corinne Pomerleau Corinne.Pomerleau at umanitoba.ca
Fri Jun 9 07:16:13 PDT 2017


Dear MARMAM Colleagues,

My co-authors and I are pleased to announce the publication of the following article in Polar Biology:


Reconstructing variability in West Greenland ocean biogeochemistry and bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus) food web structure using amino acid isotope ratios.


by Corinne Pomerleau, Mads Peter Heide-Jørgensen, Steven H. Ferguson, Harry L. Stern, Jacob Høyer and Gary A. Stern.


Abstract:


Climate change is causing physical and biological changes in the polar marine environment, which may impact higher trophic level predators such as the bowhead whale (Balaena mysticetus) and the structure of their food webs. We used bulk stable isotope analysis and compound specific isotope analysis (CSIA) of individual amino acids (AA) to examine bowhead whale trophic position and the biogeochemistry of one of their feeding grounds, Disko Bay, West Greenland, over a period of 7 years (2007-2013). We also examined whether environmental conditions such as sea ice concentration and sea surface temperature were causing any interannual variation in isotope data. Bulk ?15N values were consistent across the 7 years of sampling and were similar between sex classes. Bulk ?13C and essential-AAs ?13C values displayed an overall temporal decline of 1.0 and 1.4%, respectively. A signi?cant positive linear relationship was found between ?13C of bulk skin and essential-AAs suggesting that some of the observed isotopic variation in bowhead whales between years re?ect changes in the carbon at the base of the food web. There were no correlations between the ?13C and ?15N values of isotopic tracers with sea ice concentrations or sea surface temperatures. The trophic level of bowhead whales remained stable over time despite large interannual variability in ice and temperature regimes. Our results indicate that the recent environmental changes in West Greenland resulted in no trophic perturbation being transferred to bowhead whales during that time period. Our study shows that the novel approach of CSIA-AA can be used effectively to study the combined temporal variation of bowhead whale food web structure and ecosystem isotopic baseline values and detect changes at the species and ecosystem levels.


Here is the link to the article: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00300-017-2136-x/fulltext.html


Best regards,


Corinne Pomerleau, Ph.D.

University of Manitoba, Center for Earth Observation Science

Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3T 2N2, Canada

corinne.pomerleau at umanitoba.ca


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