The structure and the trophic interactions of the planktonic food web were investigated during summer 2004 in a coastal lagoon of south-western Mediterranean Sea. Biomasses of planktonic components as well as bacterial and phytoplankton production and grazing by microzooplankton were quantified at four stations (MA, MB, MJ and R) inside the lagoon. Station MA was impacted by urban discharge, station MB was influenced by industrial activity, station MJ was located in a shellfish farming sector, while station R represented the lagoon central area. Biomasses and production rates of bacteria (7-33 mg C m-3; 17.5-35 mg C m-3d-1) and phytoplankton (80-299 mg C m-3; 34-210 mg C m-3d-1) showed high values at station MJ, where substantial concentrations of nutrients (NO3-and Si(OH)4) were found. Microphytoplankton, which dominated the total algal biomass and production (>82%), were characterized by the proliferation of several chain-forming diatoms. Microzooplankton was mainly composed of dinoflagellates (Torodinium, Protoperidinium and Dinophysis) and aloricate (Lohmaniellea and Strombidium) and tintinnid (Tintinnopsis, Tintinnus, Favella and Eutintinnus) ciliates. Higher biomass of these protozoa (359 mg C m-3) was observed at station MB, where large tintinnids were encountered. Mesozooplankton mainly represented by Calanoida (Acartia, Temora, Calanus, Eucalanus, Paracalanus and Centropages) and Cyclopoida (Oithona) copepods, exhibited higher and lower biomasses at stations MA/MJ and MB, respectively. Bacterivory represented only 35% of bacterial production at stations MB and R, but higher fractions (65-70%) were observed at stations MA and MJ. Small heterotrophic flagellates and aloricate ciliates seemed to be the main controllers of bacteria. Pico- and nanophytoplankton represented a significant alternative carbon pool for micrograzers, which grazing represented 67-90% of pico- and nano-algal production in all stations. Microzooplankton has, however, a relatively low impact on microphytoplankton, as ≤45% of microalgal production was consumed in all stations. This implies that an important fraction of diatom production would be channelled by herbivorous meso-grazers to higher consumers at stations MA and MJ where copepods were numerous. Most of the microalgal production would, however, sink particularly at station MB where copepods were scare. These different trophic interactions suggest different food web structures between stations. A multivorous food web seemed to prevail in stations MJ and MA, whereas microbial web was dominant in the other stations. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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