Journal Article Historical delta(15) N records of Saccharina specimens from oligotrophic waters of Japan Sea (Hokkaido)

Kuribayashi, Takanori  ,  Abe, Tsuyoshi  ,  Montani, Shigeru

12 ( 7 )  , p.e0180760 , 2017-07-12 , PLOS
Historically Saccharina spp. beds occurred along the west coast of Hokkaido, an oligotrophic area, and were commercially exploited. Currently extensive commercial Saccharina spp. beds do not form due to nutrient limitations. Here, we postulate that nutrients assimilated by paleo-Saccharina spp. beds may have been derived from spawning herrings (Clupea pallasii) acting as organisms that formed a vector from their feeding grounds (Okhotsk Sea and Pacific Ocean) to their spawning area (west coast of Hokkaido, Japan Sea). To test this hypothesis we examined stable nitrogen isotope ratios (delta N-15) of 100-to 135-year-old Saccharina specimens preserved at the Herbarium (Hokkaido University Museum). delta(15) N values of the paleo-Saccharina specimens collected from this region were in the range of 10%, which is significantly higher than the current 3-7% in freshly sampled Saccharina spp. This high delta(15) N indicates that spawning herring (Clupea pallasii) had potentially been a significant source of dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) absorbed by Saccharina, acting as an organism forming a vector for transporting nutrients from eutrophic to oligotrophic coastal ecosystems. Our findings support the hypothesis of so-called "herring-derived nutrients.

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