Russian Journal of Marine Biology

, Volume 44, Issue 1, pp 68–74 | Cite as

Variations in the Carbon and Nitrogen Isotope Composition of the Crabs Chionoecetes opilio (Fabricius, 1788) and Hyas coarctatus Leach, 1816 (Crustacea: Decapoda) from the Chukchi Sea

  • V. S. Odintsov
  • S. I. Kiyashko


Some regions of the Chukchi Sea shelf are characterized by an unusually high abundance of the benthos. The carbon and nitrogen isotope composition (δ13C and δ15N) of two crab species, Chionoecetes opilio and Hyas coarctatus, which occupy the upper trophic levels in bottom communities in the southern regions influenced by the Anadyr Water (AW) and in the regions exposed to the influence of the Siberian Coastal Current (SCC), was analyzed in order to compare between the trophic characteristics of their benthic communities. It has been found that these two species have similar spatial trends of stable isotope signature variations. As the effect of the productive AW on bottom communities decreases, a substantial depletion of δ13C with a simultaneous growth of δ15N values are observed in crab tissues. The trophic niches of C. opilio and H. coarctatus, which are represented by “isotope” niches as standard ellipse areas in the δ13C/δ15N biplot, significantly overlap in communities of the southern part of the shelf and become completely separated in those of the regions influenced by the SCC. The separation of the isotope niches of C. opilio and H. coarctatus and the simultaneous increase in δ15N values in both species by more than 3‰ indicate partitioning of the trophic resources between them and elongation of the food chains of both these carnivorous generalists by almost one trophic level in the communities that exist under the influence of less productive waters.


food chains Chukchi Sea benthos communities stable isotopes trophic niches 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Belov, N.A. and Ogorodnikov, V.I., Features of modern sedimentation and some issues of geochemistry of bottom sediments on the Chukchi Sea shelf, Vestn. Leningr. Univ., Ser. 7: Geol., Geogr., 1976, vol. 24, no. 4, pp. 52–61.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ratmanov, G.E., On the hydrology of the Bering and Chukchi seas, Issled. Morei SSSR, 1937, no. 25, pp. 10–118.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Sirenko, B.I., Assessment of bioresources of common species, large taxa, and trophic groups of zoobenthos in the Chukchi Sea, Issled. Fauny Morei, 2009, vol. 64, no. 72, pp. 213–230.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Sirenko, B.I. and Vasilenko, S.V., Crabs (Crustacea, Decapoda, Brachyura) of the Chukchi Sea, Issled. Fauny Morei, 2008, vol. 61, no. 69, pp. 142–148.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Sirenko, B.I. and Gagaev, S.Yu., Unusual abundance of macrobenthos and biological invasions in the Chukchi Sea, Russ. J. Mar. Biol., 2007, vol. 33, no. 6, pp. 355–364.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Sirenko, B.I., Denisenko, S.G., Gagaev, S.Yu., et al., Bottom communities of the Chukchi Sea shelf deeper than 10 m, Issled. Fauny Morei, 2009, vol. 64, no. 72, pp. 32–55.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Sokolova, M.N., Pitaniye i troficheskaya struktura glubokovodnogo makrobentosa (Feeding and Trophic Structure of Deep-Sea Macrobenthos), Moscow: Nauka, 1986.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Sokolova, M.N., Materials on feeding of deep-sea invertebrates, in Pitaniye morskikh bespozvonochnykh v estestvennykh usloviyakh (Feeding of Marine Invertebrates in Natural Conditions), Moscow: Inst. Okeanol., Akad. Nauk SSSR, 1986, pp. 77–101.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Chuchukalo, V.I., Nadtochy, V.A., Fedotov, P.A., and Bezrukov, R.G., Feeding and some biological features of snow crab Chionoecetes opilio in the Chukchi Sea, Izv. Tikhookean. Nauchno–Issled. Inst. Rybn. Khoz. Okeanogr., 2011, vol. 167, pp. 197–206.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Cooney, R.T. and Coyle, K.O., Trophic implications of cross-shelf copepod distributions in the southeastern Bering Sea, Mar. Biol., 1982, vol. 70, pp. 187–196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Divine, L.M., Bluhm, B.A., Mueter, F.J., and Iken, K., Diet analysis of Alaska Arctic snow crabs (Chionoecetes opilio) using stomach contents and δ13C and δ15N stable isotopes, Deep Sea Res., Part II, 2017, vol. 135, pp. 124–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Dunton, K.H., Goodall, J.L., Schonberg, S.V., et al., Multi-decadal synthesis of benthic–pelagic coupling in the western Arctic: role of cross-shelf advective processes, Deep Sea Res., Part II, 2005, vol. 52, pp. 3462–3477.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Dunton, K.H., Saupe, S.M., Golikov, A.N., et al., Trophic relationships and isotope gradients among arctic and subarctic marine fauna, Mar. Ecol.: Prog. Ser., 1989, vol. 56, pp. 89–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Feder, H.M., Naidu, A.S., Jewett, S.C., et al., The northeastern Chukchi Sea: benthos–environmental interactions, Mar. Ecol.: Prog. Ser., 1994, vol. 111, pp. 171–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Grebmeier, J.M., Studies of pelagic–benthic coupling extended onto the Soviet continental shelf in the northern Bering and Chukchi Seas, Cont. Shelf Res., 1993, vol. 13, pp. 653–668.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Grebmeier, J.M., Cooper, L.W., Feder, H.M., and Sirenko, B.I., Ecosystem dynamics of the Pacificinfluenced northern Bering and Chukchi Seas in the Amerasian Arctic, Prog. Oceanogr., 2006, vol. 71, pp. 331–361.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Grebmeier, J.M., Feder, H.M., and McRoy, C.P., Pelagic–benthic coupling on the shelf of the northern Bering and Chukchi Seas, II. Benthic community structure, Mar. Ecol.: Prog. Ser., 1989, vol. 51, pp. 253–268.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Grebmeier, J.M., McRoy, C.P., and Feder, H.M., Pelagic–benthic coupling on the shelf of the northern Bering and Chukchi Seas, I. Food supply source and benthic biomass, Mar. Ecol.: Prog. Ser., 1988, vol. 48, pp. 57–67.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Grebmeier, J.M. and McRoy, C.P., Pelagic–benthic coupling on the shelf of the northern Bering and Chukchi Seas, III. Benthic food supply and carbon cycling, Mar. Ecol.: Prog. Ser., 1989, vol. 53, pp. 79–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Grebmeier, J.M., Overland, J.E., Moore, S.E., et al., A major ecosystem shift in the northern Bering Sea, Science, 2006, vol. 311, pp. 1461–1464.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Hill, V. and Cota, G., Spatial patterns of primary production on the shelf, slope and basin of the Western Arctic in 2002, Deep Sea Res., Part II, 2005, vol. 52, no. 24–26, pp. 3344–3354.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Hobson, K.A. and Welch, H.E., Determination of trophic relationships within a high Arctic marine food web using δ13C and δ15N analysis, Mar. Ecol.: Prog. Ser., 1992, vol. 84, pp. 9–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Iken, K., Bluhm, B.A., and Dunton, K.H., Benthic food web structure under differing water mass properties in the southern Chukchi Sea, Deep Sea Res., Part II, 2010, vol. 57, pp. 71–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Iken, K., Bluhm, B.A., and Gradinger, R., Food web structure in the high Arctic Canada Basin: Evidence from δ13C and δ15N analysis, Polar Biol., 2005, vol. 28, no. 3, pp. 238–249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Jackson, A.L., Inger, R., Parnell, A.C., and Bearhop, S., Comparing isotope niche widths among and within communities: SIBER—Stable Isotope Bayesian Ellipses in R, J. Anim. Ecol., 2011, vol. 80, no. 3, pp. 595–602.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Kendall, C., Silva, S.R., and Kelly, V.J., Carbon and nitrogen isotope compositions of particulate organic matter in four large river systems across the United States, Hydrol. Process., 2001, vol. 15, pp. 1301–1346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Kolts, J.M., Lovvorn, J.R., North, C.A., et al., Effects of body size, gender, and prey availability on diets of snow crabs in the northern Bering Sea, Mar. Ecol.: Prog. Ser., 2013, vol. 483, pp. 209–220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Lovvorn, J.R., Cooper, L.W., Brooks, M.L., et al., Organic matter pathways to zooplankton and benthos under pack ice in late winter and open water in later summer in the north-central Bering Sea, Mar. Ecol.: Prog. Ser., 2005, vol. 291, pp. 135–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Morris, D.J., O’Connell, M.T., and Macko, S.A., Assessing the importance of terrestrial organic carbon in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas, Estuarine, Coastal Shelf Sci., 2015, vol. 164, pp. 28–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Naidu, A.S., Cooper, L.W., Finney, B.P., et al., Organic carbon isotope ratios (δ13C) of Arctic Amerasian continental shelf sediments, Int. J. Earth Sci., 2000, vol. 89, no. 3, pp. 522–532.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Post, D.M., Using stable isotopes to estimate trophic position: models, methods, and assumptions, Ecology, 2002, vol. 83, pp. 703–718.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Post, D.M., Layman, C.A., Arrington, D.A., et al., Getting to the fat of the matter: models, methods and assumptions for dealing with lipids in stable isotope analyses, Oecologia, 2007, vol. 152, pp. 179–189.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Walsh, J.J., McRoy, C.P., Coachman, L.K., et al., Carbon and nitrogen cycling within the Bering/Chukchi Seas: source regions for organic matter effecting AOU demands of the Arctic Ocean, Prog. Oceanogr., 1989, vol. 22, no. 4, pp. 277–359.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Pleiades Publishing, Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Zhirmunsky Institute of Marine Biology, National Scientific Center of Marine Biology, Far Eastern BranchRussian Academy of SciencesVladivostokRussia

Personalised recommendations