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Apparent resource partitioning and trophic structure of large-bodied marine predators in a relatively pristine seagrass ecosystem

Heithaus, Michael R., Vaudo, Jeremy J., Kreicker, Sina, Layman, Craig A., Krützen, Michael, Burkholder, Derek A., Gastrich, Kirk, Bessey, Cindy, Sarabia, Robin, Cameron, Kathryn, Wirsing, Aaron, Thomson, Jordan A. and Dunphy-Daly, Meagan M. 2013, Apparent resource partitioning and trophic structure of large-bodied marine predators in a relatively pristine seagrass ecosystem, Marine ecology progress series, vol. 481, pp. 225-237, doi: 10.3354/meps10235.

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Title Apparent resource partitioning and trophic structure of large-bodied marine predators in a relatively pristine seagrass ecosystem
Author(s) Heithaus, Michael R.
Vaudo, Jeremy J.
Kreicker, Sina
Layman, Craig A.
Krützen, Michael
Burkholder, Derek A.
Gastrich, Kirk
Bessey, Cindy
Sarabia, Robin
Cameron, Kathryn
Wirsing, Aaron
Thomson, Jordan A.ORCID iD for Thomson, Jordan A. orcid.org/0000-0003-3751-9490
Dunphy-Daly, Meagan M.
Journal name Marine ecology progress series
Volume number 481
Start page 225
End page 237
Total pages 13
Publisher Inter-Research
Place of publication Oldendorf, Germany
Publication date 2013-05-07
ISSN 0171-8630
1616-1599
Keyword(s) food webs
predator-prey interactions
stable isotope
niche overlap
elasmobranchs
sharks
cetacean
trophic redundancy
niche partitioning
Summary Large predators often play important roles in structuring marine communities. Tounderstand the role that these predators play in ecosystems, it is crucial to have knowledge oftheir interactions and the degree to which their trophic roles are complementary or redundantamong species. We used stable isotope analysis to examine the isotopic niche overlap of dolphinsTursiops cf. aduncus, large sharks (>1.5 m total length), and smaller elasmobranchs (sharks andbatoids) in the relatively pristine seagrass community of Shark Bay, Australia. Dolphins and largesharks differed in their mean isotopic values for δ13C and δ15N, and each group occupied a relativelyunique area in isotopic niche space. The standard ellipse areas (SEAc; based on bivariatestandard deviations) of dolphins, large sharks, small sharks, and rays did not overlap. Tiger sharksGaleocerdo cuvier had the highest δ15N values, although the mean δ13C and δ15N values of pigeyesharks Carcharhinus amboinensis were similar. Other large sharks (e.g. sicklefin lemon sharksNegaprion acutidens and sandbar sharks Carcharhinus plumbeus) and dolphins appeared to feedat slightly lower trophic levels than tiger sharks. In this seagrass-dominated ecosystem, seagrassderivedcarbon appears to be more important for elasmobranchs than it is for dolphins. Habitat usepatterns did not correlate well with the sources of productivity supporting diets, suggesting thathabitat use patterns may not necessarily be reflective of the resource pools supporting a populationand highlights the importance of detailed datasets on trophic interactions for elucidating theecological roles of predators.
Language eng
DOI 10.3354/meps10235
Field of Research 0602 Ecology
0608 Zoology
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2013, Inter-Research
Free to Read? No
Free to Read Start Date 2018-05-08
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30102844

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