02 September 2020
The stable isotope ratios of nitrogen (δ 15N) and carbon (δ 13C) were applied in this study to analyze sediment carbon sources and primary food sources of epifauna in an oceanic mangrove forest in tropical North Sulawesi, Indonesia. Proportional contribution of mangrove-derived carbon to the food sources was compared among epifauna belonging to different feeding guilds. The sediment in the mangrove site with a depleted δ 13C signature (−28.02‰ ± 0.24‰) mainly consists of mangrove-derived carbon. Analysis using Bayesian stable isotope mixing model in the R program shows that mangrove-derived carbon can dominate the food sources of a majority of the epifauna (11 out of the total 18 species), especially 2 sesarmid crabs Parasesarma semperi and Sesarma sp., crab Epixanthus dentatus, and snails Terebralia sulcata and Optediceros breviculum, which belong to various feeding guilds. Mangrove-derived carbon has a proportional contribution to the food sources of fiddle crab Tubuca coarctata and 3 littorinid snails ( Littoraria spp.) close to that of suspended particulate organic matter. Three planktophagous bivalve species ( Anadara antiquata, Anadara sp. and Callista erycina) were found to mainly feed on seagrass-derived materials. Mean proportional contributions of mangrove-derived carbon to the food sources were 50.15%, 59.60%, 46.20% and 27.58% for the carnivorous, omnivorous, phytophagous and planktophagous groups, respectively. The results suggest that mangrove-derived carbon can directly ( via grazing plant tissues) or indirectly ( via deposit feedings) make an important contribution to the food sources of epifauna in the oceanic mangrove forest where the allochthonous input of organic carbon is low.