Trends in body size across an environmental gradient: a differential response in scavenging and non-scavenging demersal deep-sea fish

Collins, M.A., Bailey, D.M. , Ruxton, G.D. and Priede, I.G. (2005) Trends in body size across an environmental gradient: a differential response in scavenging and non-scavenging demersal deep-sea fish. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences, 272(1576), pp. 2051-2057. (doi:10.1098/rspb.2005.3189)

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2005.3189

Abstract

Body size trends across environmental gradients are widely reported but poorly understood. Here, we investigate contrasting relationships between size (body mass) and depth in the scavenging and predatory demersal ichthyofauna (800-4800 m) of the North-east Atlantic. The mean size of scavenging fish, identified as those regularly attracted to baited cameras, increased significantly with depth, while in nonscavengers there was a significant decline in size. The increase in scavenger size is a consequence of both intra and inter-specific effects. The observation of opposing relationships, in different functional groups, across the same environmental gradient indicates ecological rather than physiological causes. Simple energetic models indicate that the dissimilarity can be explained by different patterns of food distribution. While food availability declines with depth for both groups, the food is likely to be in large, randomly distributed packages for scavengers and as smaller but more evenly distributed items for predators. Larger size in scavengers permits higher swimming speeds, greater endurance as a consequence of larger energy reserves and lower mass specific metabolic rate, factors that are critical to survival on sporadic food items

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Northeast Atlantic; deep water; fishes; body size; scavengers; predators
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Ruxton, Professor Graeme and Bailey, Dr David
Authors: Collins, M.A., Bailey, D.M., Ruxton, G.D., and Priede, I.G.
Subjects:Q Science > QL Zoology
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences
Publisher:The Royal Society
ISSN:0962-8452
ISSN (Online):1471-2954
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2005 The Royal Society
First Published:First published in Proceedings of The Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences 272(1576):2051-2057
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.

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