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The trophic ecology of two abundant mesopredators in south-east coastal waters of Tasmania, Australia


Yick, JL and Barnett, A and Tracey, SR, The trophic ecology of two abundant mesopredators in south-east coastal waters of Tasmania, Australia, Marine Biology, 159, (6) pp. 1183-1196. ISSN 0025-3162 (2012) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2012 Springer-Verlag

DOI: doi:10.1007/s00227-012-1899-4


Investigating predator–prey relationships is an important component for identifying and understanding the factors that influence the structure and function of ecosystems. Mesopredators, defined as mid-level predators, have a profound effect on ecosystem structure by contributing an important link between apex predators and lower trophic levels. The diet of two elasmobranch mesopredators, Squalus acanthias and Mustelus antarcticus, was investigated in three locations in south-east Tasmania. Squalus acanthias consumed predominantly pelagic teleosts and cephalopods, while M. antarcticus predominantly consumed benthic crustaceans. As a result, there was low dietary and niche overlap between the two species. There was however evidence of intra-specific dietary variations between locations for both the species. This study has contributed to a better understanding of the top-down dynamics of the food web in coastal Tasmania, by providing important dietary information of two abundant mesopredators. In addition, the similar dietary patterns for S. acanthias and other Mustelus species over much of their global range suggest they may be consistent in their trophic roles across systems, with limited competition between these two sympatric mesopredators to be expected.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:cephalopod, coastal zone, crustacean, diet, dietary overlap, ecosystem function, ecosystem structure, food web, intraspecific variation, predator-prey interaction, shark, sympatry, teleost, trophic environment, trophic level, Cephalopoda, Crustacea
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Fisheries sciences
Research Field:Fisheries management
Objective Division:Animal Production and Animal Primary Products
Objective Group:Fisheries - wild caught
Objective Field:Fisheries - wild caught not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Yick, JL (Mr Jonah Yick)
UTAS Author:Barnett, A (Dr Adam Barnett)
UTAS Author:Tracey, SR (Associate Professor Sean Tracey)
ID Code:77584
Year Published:2012
Web of Science® Times Cited:9
Deposited By:Sustainable Marine Research Collaboration
Deposited On:2012-05-04
Last Modified:2017-11-01

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