Dataset for: Benthic primary producers are key to sustain the Wadden Sea food web: Stable carbon isotope analysis at landscape scale

  • Maria Christianen (Creator)
  • J.J. Middelburg (Creator)
  • Sander Holthuijsen (Creator)
  • Jeltje Jouta (Creator)
  • T.J. Compton (Creator)
  • Tjisse van der Heide (Creator)
  • Theunis Piersma (Creator)
  • J.S Sinninghe Damste (Creator)
  • H W van der Veer (Creator)
  • S Schouten (Creator)
  • Han Olff (Creator)



Coastal food webs can be supported by local benthic or pelagic primary producers and by the import of organic matter. Distinguishing between these energy sources is essential for our understanding of ecosystem functioning. However, the relative contribution of these components to the food web at the landscape scale is often unclear, as many studies lack good taxonomic and spatial resolution across large areas. Here, using stable carbon isotopes, we report on the primary carbon sources for consumers and their spatial variability across one of the world's largest intertidal ecosystems (Dutch Wadden Sea; 1460 km2 intertidal surface area), at an exceptionally high taxonomic (178 species) and spatial resolution (9,165 samples from 839 locations).
Species composition and biomass data were collected during a spatially comprehensive monitoring campaign (Synoptic Intertidal Benthic Survey, SIBES) between June and October of 2008–2012 (Bijleveld et al. 2012, Compton et al. 2013). This sampling program covers the entire intertidal of the Dutch Wadden Sea and consists of gridded samples taken at 500 m intervals and additional random samples (~4,500 samples per year). As samples were collected from June to September, sampling was conducted haphazardly in geographic space over these six weeks to ensure that there was no temporal bias in the sampling and thus in our estimates.
Date made available19-Mar-2017
PublisherUniversity of Groningen
Temporal coverage2008 - 2012
Date of data production2008 - 2012
Geographical coverageDutch Wadden Sea, The Netherlands

Keywords on Datasets

  • foodweb
  • Wadden Sea
  • Carbon isotopes
  • estuary
  • Wetlands
  • macrobenthos
  • d13C
  • Microphytobenthos

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