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Les bivalves filtreurs Astarte moerchi : modèle biologique pour l'étude des écosystème marins arctiques

Abstract : In the context of climate change, Arctic marine ecosystems are affected by rapid environmental modifications, whose effects on biotic communities are still debated. The sea-ice decline and the increase in freshwater inputs and turbidity are likely to impact Arctic primary producers, with cascade effects on a key-process in those ecosystems: the trophic relationship between primary producers and benthic consumers (generally referred as “pelagic-benthic coupling”). The direct study of such complex interaction is not straightforward in the Arctic. The biological model of filter-feeding bivalves offers the possibility to get around these problems, allowing to study those ecological processes indirectly. Among the advantages of this model, there is first of all the fact that these organisms record in their shell, in the carbonate layers, some dynamics of their environments. The information recorded in such “bioarchives” are interpreted through the methods of sclerochronology and sclerochemistry and relate to a time window corresponding to the organism lifespan (from some years to more than 500 years). Given that these organisms are primary consumers, another advantage of this biological model is that the study of their diet can provide information about the trophic relationship with primary producers. With the methods of trophic ecology, especially fatty acids and stable isotopes, the study of the tissues allows the investigation of sources assimilated at a timescale of weeks/months.The main objective of this thesis is to test the potential of bivalves Astarte moerchi (borealis complex) as a biological model for the study of marine Arctic ecosystems. A coupled approach is used to combine shell analysis by the methods of sclerochronology and sclerochemistry (elemental ratios) and tissue analysis by the methods of trophic ecology (fatty acids, carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes, compound-specific carbon stable isotopes on individual fatty acids). Two living A. moerchi populations have been studied in two fjords presenting contrasted environmental conditions: Young Sound in North-East Greenland (considered as “Arctic” site) and Kongsfjorden in the West coast of the Svalbard Archipelago (considered as a “sub-Arctic” site). The study of the tissues of A. moerchi allowed to show the trophic plasticity of this species, with differences in food sources of the two populations linked to local primary production dynamics. The analysis of the shell of A. moerchi allowed to: a) corroborate the hypothesis of annual growth lines formation, thus confirming the longevity of this species that can attain 150 years; b) show the potential interest of the analysis of elemental ratios and particularly the ratio between Barium and Calcium (Ba/Ca), which could be relied to phytoplanktonic blooms and c) show that contrasted environmental conditions in the Arctic and sub-Arctic sites result in different shell growth patterns. Some perspectives for the further use of this model study in ecology are discussed. To conclude, an epistemological reflection is sketched about the specificity of the biological model study of filter-feeding bivalves. In contrast to the classical notion of “model organism” used in experimental biology, we suggest that filter-feeding bivalves (as well as other “bioarchives” like trees, corals and coralline algae) belong to a category of biological models that could be named “in situ” and seems specific to the ecological discipline.
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Silvia de Cesare. Les bivalves filtreurs Astarte moerchi : modèle biologique pour l'étude des écosystème marins arctiques. Ecologie, Environnement. Museum national d'histoire naturelle - MNHN PARIS, 2016. Français. ⟨NNT : 2016MNHN0010⟩. ⟨tel-01884169⟩

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