The trophic role of a large marine predator, the tiger shark Galeocerdo cuvier

Ferreira, Luciana C., Thums, Michele, Heithaus, Michael R., Barnett, Adam, Abrantes, Kátya G., Holmes, Bonnie J., Zamora, Lara M., Frisch, Ashley J., Pepperell, Julian G., Burkholder, Derek, Vaudo, Jeremy, Nowicki, Robert, Meeuwig, Jessica, and Meekan, Mark G. (2017) The trophic role of a large marine predator, the tiger shark Galeocerdo cuvier. Scientific Reports, 7. 7641. pp. 1-14.

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Abstract

Tiger sharks were sampled off the western (Ningaloo Reef, Shark Bay) and eastern (the Great Barrier Reef; GBR, Queensland and New South Wales; NSW) coastlines of Australia. Multiple tissues were collected from each shark to investigate the effects of location, size and sex of sharks on δ¹³C and δ¹⁵N stable isotopes among these locations. Isotopic composition of sharks sampled in reef and seagrass habitats (Shark Bay, GBR) reflected seagrass-based food-webs, whereas at Ningaloo Reef analysis revealed a dietary transition between pelagic and seagrass food-webs. In temperate habitats off southern Queensland and NSW coasts, shark diets relied on pelagic food-webs. Tiger sharks occupied roles at the top of food-webs at Shark Bay and on the GBR, but not at Ningaloo Reef or off the coast of NSW. Composition of δ¹³C in tissues was influenced by body size and sex of sharks, in addition to residency and diet stability. This variability in stable isotopic composition of tissues is likely to be a result of adaptive foraging strategies that allow these sharks to exploit multiple shelf and offshore habitats. The trophic role of tiger sharks is therefore both context- and habitat-dependent, consistent with a generalist, opportunistic diet at the population level.

Item ID: 49936
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2045-2322
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This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Cre-ative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not per-mitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ .

Funders: Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales (RZS), University of Western Australia, Australian Institute of Marine Science, Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico, Brazil (CNPq)
Projects and Grants: RZS Paddy Pallin Science Grant
Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2017 00:36
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060201 Behavioural Ecology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 25%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences @ 25%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 50%
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