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Feeding strategies and ecological roles of three predatory pelagic fish in the western Mediterranean Sea

AutorNavarro, Joan ; Sáez‑Liante, Raquel ; Albo Puigserver, Marta ; Coll, Marta ; Palomera, Isabel
Palabras claveTrophic level
Stomach contents
Trophic ecology
Stable isotopes
Pelagic ecosystem
Marine predators
Fecha de publicaciónjun-2017
EditorPergamon Press
CitaciónDeep-Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography 140: 9-17 (2017)
ResumenKnowing the feeding ecology of marine predators is pivotal to developing an understanding of their ecological role in the ecosystem and determining the trophic relationships between them. Despite the ecological importance of predatory pelagic fish species, research on these species in the Mediterranean Sea is limited. Here, by combining analyses of stomach contents and stable isotope values, we examined the feeding strategies of swordfish, Xiphias gladius, little tunny, Euthynnus alletteratus and Atlantic bonito, Sarda sarda, in the western Mediterranean Sea. We also compared the trophic niche and trophic level of these species with published information of other sympatric pelagic predators present in the ecosystem. Results indicated that, although the diet of the three species was composed mainly by fin-fish species, a clear segregation in their main feeding strategies was found. Swordfish showed a generalist diet including demersal species such as blue whiting, Micromesistius poutassou, and European hake, Merluccius merluccius, and pelagic fin-fish such as barracudina species (Arctozenus risso and Lestidiops jayakari) or small pelagic fish species. Little tunny and Atlantic bonito were segregated isotopically between them and showed a diet basically composed of anchovy, Engraulis encrasicolus, and round sardinella, Sardinella aurita, and sardines, Sardina pilchardus, respectively. This trophic segregation, in addition to potential segregation by depth, is likely a mechanism that allows their potential coexistence within the same pelagic habitat. When the trophic position of these three predatory pelagic fish species is compared with other pelagic predators such as bluefin tuna, Thunnus thynnus, and dolphinfish, Coryphaena hippurus, present in the western Mediterranean Sea, we found that they show similar intermediate trophic position in the ecosystem. In conclusion, the combined stomach and isotopic results highlight, especially for little tunny and Atlantic bonito, the trophic importance of Clupeoid species in their diet. In addition, the importance of demersal resources for swordfish provides evidence for the pelagic-demersal coupling of the ecosystem and the need to manage marine resources in an integrated way
Descripción9 pages, 6 figures, 2 tables
Versión del editorhttps://doi.org/10.1016/j.dsr2.2016.06.009
Identificadoresdoi: 10.1016/j.dsr2.2016.06.009
issn: 0967-0645
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