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From study of planktonic trophic networks of Charente Maritime marshes to indicators

Thesis

French

ID: <10670/1.mecmec>

Abstract

Charente-Maritime marshes represent hydraulic systems on which available data on thewater quality are limited, preventing a good management of these ecosystems. As transitionalzones between terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, marshes play a major role in ‘metaecosystems’.Furthermore, marshes represent a major ecological patrimony, thus the samplingof the aquatic compartment seems essential to improve their knowledge. A water qualitymonitoring program has been in place since spring 2003, developed by UNIMA (Union desMarais de Charente-Maritime) in order to create a “marshes standard” conform to the WFDprerogatives. A good understanding of the marshes functioning appears as necessary todevelop this standard. In this context, 3 main objectives rose for this thesis. The first one wasto realize a water body typology presenting different functioning on Charente-Maritimemarshes. The second one was to improve the understanding of marshes functioning throughthe study of the spatio-temporal variation of planktonic food webs. The last one was toevaluate the impact of a storm (Xynthia) on the planktonic resilience of the marshes.The statistical approach applied here had allowed us to define 7 fresh marshes typesand 5 salt marshes types. The sampling of the organic matter, the functional diversity ofplanktons and the food webs succession had confirmed hypothesis on marsh functioningrelated to the typology, particularly: (i) their ecological role, (ii) their influence on ecosystemscomposing the meta-ecosystem of Charente, (iii) their resilience capacity.Salt marshes planktonic food web functioning is controlled by a double mechanism:the tide and the anthropogenic activities in ponds determining the water renewal rate. In freshmarshes, a ‘classical’ pattern of the food web succession had been found. The dominance ofthe phytoplanktonic community and of the herbivorous and multivorous food webs seemed tobe in concordance with the classical ecological functions of wetlands such as their purificationcapacity and their habitat and nursery function. This classical succession can be altered bytwo mechanisms: the renewal rate inside the marsh and the macrophytes development. In onehand, the highly water stagnation of some marshes types can provoke eutrophicationphenomena destabilizing the ecosystem properties. In the other hand, macrophytes are morecompetitive than phytoplankton in shallow marsh channels, because of their capacity to usenutrient of the sediment. The important degradation of the macrophytes’ biomass duringsummer period by bacteria can generate strong hypoxia phenomena.Some indicators based on simple parameters had been proposed to follow the trophicstate of these systems (three-size classes of chlorophyll, bacteria biomass).

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