Chinese Acad Sci, Grad Sch,Inst Hydrobiol, Donghu Expt Stn Lake Ecosyst, State Key Lab Freshwater Ecol & Biotechnol, Wuhan 430072, Peoples R China
Food web structure was studied by using carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios in a hypereutrophic subtropical Chinese lake, Lake Donghu. High external nutrient loading and the presence of abundant detritus from submersed macrophytes were responsible for the high sediment delta(15)N and delta(13)C, respectively. C-13 was significantly higher in submersed macrophytes than in other macrophytes. The similar delta(13)C values in phytoplankton, zooplankton, zoobenthos, and planktivorous fish indicate that phytoplankton was the major food source for the consumers. By using a delta(15)N mass balance model, we estimate that the contributions of zooplankton to the diet of silver carp and bighead carp were 54% and 74%, respectively, which is in agreement with previous microscopic observations on intestinal contents of these fishes.