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Title: Trophic ecology of northern gannets Morus bassanus highlights the extent of isotopic niche overlap with other apex predators within the Bay of Biscay
Authors: Gaspar, Claudia; Gimenez, Joan; Andonegi, Eider; Astarloa, Amaia; Chouvelon, Tiphaine; Franco, Javier; Goni, Nicolas; Corrales, Xavier; Bustamante, Paco; Spitz, Jerome; Louzao, Maite
Abstract: Understanding the linkages within complex and evolving marine food webs is essential to comprehend marine ecosystem structure and dynamics. Carbon (delta C-13) and nitrogen (delta N-15) stable isotope signatures are recognized to be powerful descriptors of the trophic ecology and trophic relationships within marine communities. Apex predators such as seabirds can influence the structure of communities by predating in lower trophic levels. They also convey information both over a range of spatial and temporal scales due to their high mobility and longevity, respectively. For this reason, here, we studied the trophic ecology of northern gannets and the extent of niche overlap with other apex predators within the Bay of Biscay (North-East Atlantic), a key feeding area for numerous predatory species. Mixing models indicated that northern gannets fed primarily on European anchovy Engraulis encrasicolus and on a mixed group composed of European sardine Sardina pilchardus, European sprat Sprattus sprattus, juvenile hake Merluccius merluccius, Atlantic mackerel Scomber scombrus and Atlantic horse mackerel Trachurus trachurus. Within the apex predator community, the northern gannets trophic niche overlapped the most with common guillemots Uria aalge (15.58\%, based on Stable Isotope Bayesian Ellipses (SIBER)) and overlapped to a lesser extent with cetacean species occupying shelf habitats (i.e., the harbour porpoise Phocoena phocoena (9.99\%) and the short-beaked common dolphin Delphinus delphis (10.37\%)). Overall, the overlap found was moderate indicating trophic similarities and dissimilarities between these species. Information on trophic interactions between co-existing species is necessary for holistic environmental management, particularly in areas where several megafauna species share their foraging grounds with fisheries activity.
Issue Date: 2022
Type: Article
DOI: 10.1007/s00227-022-04079-y
ISSN: 0025-3162
E-ISSN: 1432-1793
Funder: Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovacion y Universidades [RTI2018-101591B-I00]
Agencia Estatal de Investigacion
Fondo Europeo de Desarrollo Regional
Fundacion Biodiversidad-Ecoembes (call for projects to combat marine litter)
`` Departamento de Medio Ambiente, Planificacion Territorial yVivienda��(call for projects to generate knowledge for the conservation of Natural Heritage)
Marie Curie Career Integration Grant CONPELHAB project [PCIG09-GA-2011-293774]
CPER(Contrat de Projet Etat-Region)
FEDER (Fonds Europeen de Developpement Regional)
ACAP (Agreement on the Conservation and Petrels) [2013-12]
IUF (Institut Universitaire de France)
Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness [RYC-2012-09897]
Spanish National Program Juan de la CiervaFormacion [FJC2019-040016-I]
Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence' accreditation [CEX2019-000928-S]
Appears in Publication types:Artículos científicos

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