Novel tri‐isotope ellipsoid approach reveals dietary variation in sympatric predators

Skinner, C., Mill, A. C., Newman, S. P., Newton, J. , Cobain, M. R.D. and Polunin, N. V.C. (2019) Novel tri‐isotope ellipsoid approach reveals dietary variation in sympatric predators. Ecology and Evolution, 9(23), pp. 13267-13277. (doi: 10.1002/ece3.5779) (PMID:31893024) (PMCID:PMC6936247)

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Sympatric species may partition resources to reduce competition and facilitate co‐existence. While spatial variation and specialization in feeding strategies may be prevalent among large marine predators, studies have focussed on sharks, birds, and marine mammals. We consider for the first time the isotopic niche partitioning of co‐occurring, teleost reef predators spanning multiple families. Using a novel tri‐isotope ellipsoid approach, we investigate the feeding strategies of seven of these species across an atoll seascape in the Maldives. We demonstrate substantial spatial variation in resource use of all predator populations. Furthermore, within each area, there was evidence of intraspecific variation in feeding behaviors that could not wholly be attributed to individual body size. Assessing species at the population level will mask these intraspecific differences in resource use. Knowledge of resource use is important for predicting how species will respond to environmental change and spatial variation should be considered when investigating trophic diversity.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Sample analysis funding was provided by NERC LSMSF Grant EK266‐02/16. CS was supported by a Newcastle University SAgE DTA studentship and a cooperative agreement with Banyan Tree.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Newton, Dr Jason
Authors: Skinner, C., Mill, A. C., Newman, S. P., Newton, J., Cobain, M. R.D., and Polunin, N. V.C.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Journal Name:Ecology and Evolution
ISSN (Online):2045-7758
Published Online:04 November 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 The Authors
First Published:First published in Ecology and Evolution 9(23): 13267-13277
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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