Communal or competitive? Stable isotope analysis provides evidence of resource partitioning within a communal shark nursery

Kinney, Michael J., Hussey, Nigel E., Fisk, Aaron T., Tobin, Andrew J., and Simpfendorfer, Colin A. (2011) Communal or competitive? Stable isotope analysis provides evidence of resource partitioning within a communal shark nursery. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 439. pp. 263-276.

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ABSTRACT: Quantifying the diet of sympatric co-occurring predatory species is a challenging task, made more so when investigations attempt to focus on specific age groups. This is the task that confronts efforts to understand dietary resource partitioning among co-occurring juvenile shark species within nursery areas. Here, stable isotope analysis (δ13C and δ15N) is used to overcome these challenges in describing species dietary resource partitioning strategies within the communal shark nursery area of Cleveland Bay, Queensland, Australia. We analyzed the isotopic composition of 3 distinct tissues, (muscle, blood plasma, and red blood cells), for 7 species of shark and 3 species of large predatory teleost to investigate whether these communal areas support their diverse array of predators without the need for resource partitioning strategies. Clustered δ15N values for all examined species indicated feeding within the same trophic level; however, wide ranging δ13C values denoted exploitation of several primary carbon sources. Our results demonstrate inter-species resource partitioning strategies at work within the examined communal shark nursery, altering the previous interpretation of these areas as resource-rich and/or competition-limited environments.

Item ID: 20891
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: coastal, dietary overlap, muscle, niche partitioning, plasma, red blood cells
ISSN: 1616-1599
Date Deposited: 13 Mar 2012 00:39
FoR Codes: 07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0704 Fisheries Sciences > 070402 Aquatic Ecosystem Studies and Stock Assessment @ 100%
SEO Codes: 83 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8302 Fisheries - Wild Caught > 830204 Wild Caught Fin Fish (excl. Tuna) @ 100%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 2
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