Resource partitioning and habitat-specific dietary plasticity of two estuarine sparid fishes increase food web complexity

Sheaves, Marcus, Sheaves, Janine, Stegemann, Krista, and Molony, Brett (2014) Resource partitioning and habitat-specific dietary plasticity of two estuarine sparid fishes increase food web complexity. Marine and Freshwater Research, 65 (2). pp. 114-123.

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Abstract

The diets of the co-occurring sparid fishes Acanthopagrus australis and A. pacificus were investigated to assess dietary overlap and resource partitioning, the extent of spatial variation, and implications for the complexity of trophic interactions in tropical estuaries. Both species consumed a wide variety of prey including bivalves, gastropods, crustaceans, and polychaetes. There were clear differences in diet between sites separated by less than a kilometre. Site-specific substrata determine prey type, so diets at sites within a sandy bay were comprised largely of benthic infauna, while those at mangrove-lined sites contained substantial amounts of mangrove-associated prey. Although there was general dietary overlap between the two species, their diets differed substantially at any one site when viewed at a fine taxonomic resolution. A. pacificus displayed a very region- and site-specific diet, apparently feeding in different, and spatially separate, food chains at these different locations. Its main prey varied markedly between sites, seemingly due to habitat differences. By feeding in different food chains (and potentially different food webs) at different points in space and time, species like A. pacificus have the potential both to link food webs operating in a variety of habitats and to add substantially to the complexity of tropical estuarine food webs.

Item ID: 28405
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1448-6059
Keywords: Acanthopagrus, diet, dietary overlap, trophic.
Date Deposited: 09 Aug 2013 05:58
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960802 Coastal and Estuarine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960503 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Coastal and Estuarine Environments @ 50%
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