News News

Feeding habits and trophic position of three marine predators in the Mediterranean Sea

Understanding how marine predators interact is a scientific challenge. In marine ecosystems, segregation in feeding habits has been largely described as a common mechanism to allow the coexistence of several competing marine predators. However, little is known about the feeding ecology of most species of chondrichthyans, which play a pivotal role in the structure of marine food webs worldwide. In this study, the trophic ecology of 3 relatively abundant chondrichthyans coexisting in the Mediterranean Sea is examined: the blackmouth catshark Galeus melastomus, the velvet belly lanternshark Etmopterus spinax and the rabbit fish Chimaera monstrosa. To examine their trophic ecology and interspecific differences in food habits, the analysis of stomach content and stable isotopes was combined. Results highlighted a trophic segregation between C. monstrosa and the other 2 species. G. melastomus showed a diet composed mainly of cephalopods, while E. spinax preyed mainly on shrimps and C. monstrosa on crabs. Interspecific differences in the trophic niche were likely due to different feeding capabilities and body size. Each species showed different isotopic niche space and trophic level. Specifically, C. monstrosa showed a higher trophic level than E. spinax and G. melastomus. The high trophic levels of the 3 species highlighted their important role as predators in the marine food web. Results illustrate the utility of using complementary approaches that provide information about the feeding behaviour at short (stomach content) and long-term scales (stable isotopes), which could allow more efficient monitoring of marine food-web changes in the study area.informacion[at]  Albo-Puigserver et al (21015) Feeding ecology and trophic position of three sympatric demersal chondrichthyans in the northwestern Mediterranean Mar Ecol Prog Ser 524: 255–268 doi: 10.3354/meps11188


Average (0 Votes)

Latest News Latest News

Impact of fisheries on sea turtles

The bycatch of sea turtles by industrial fisheries is receiving an increasing attention in recent years due to the high impact it causes on these endangered species. This issue was evaluated in...

The structure of waterbird seed dispersal networks is not mediated by functional traits

Plants and their dispersers form interaction networks whose structure has important implications for the persistence and stability of the community. Frugivory is vital for the dispersal of many...

Mosquitoes are attracted to Plasmodium-infected birds

Parasites can manipulate their hosts to increase their transmission success. Avian malaria parasites (Plasmodium) are thought to alter the cues such as host odour, used by host-seeking mosquitoes....