Environmental fate of fish farm wastes (FFW) released from an open-sea-cage farm at Kat O, Hong Kong was examined by measuring carbon and nitrogen stable isotope (SI) ratios in selected benthic organisms collected along a 2000m transect from the farm. Our results showed that FFW significantly influenced the energy utilization profile of consumers near the fish farm. Although nitrogen enrichment effect on δ¹⁵N was anticipated in biota near the farm, the predicted patterns did not consistently occur in all feeding guilds. Two species of suspension-feeders, which relied on naturally δ¹⁵N-depleted sources, were δ¹⁵N-enriched near the fish farm. In contrast, both species of benthic grazer and deposit-feeder, which relied on naturally δ¹⁵N-enriched algal sources, were δ¹⁵N-depleted under the influence of FFW. The SI signatures of biota can, therefore, serve as feasible biomarkers for FFW discharges only when the trophic structure of the receiving environment is fully elucidated. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
CitationWai, T.-C., Leung, K. M. Y., Wu, R. S. S., Shin, P. K. S., Cheung, S. G., Li, X. Y., & Lee, J. H. W. (2011). Stable isotopes as a useful tool for revealing the environmental fate and trophic effect of open-sea-cage fish farm wastes on marine benthic organisms with different feeding guilds. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 63(5-12), 77-85. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2011.05.005
- Stable isotope
- Anthropogenic nutrients
- Fish farming
- Trophic dynamics