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Diet of demersal sharks and chimaeras inferred by fatty acid profiles and stomach content analysis


Pethybridge, H and Daley, RK and Nichols, PD, Diet of demersal sharks and chimaeras inferred by fatty acid profiles and stomach content analysis, Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 409, (1-2) pp. 290-299. ISSN 0022-0981 (2011) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2011 Elseiver B.V.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.jembe.2011.09.009


Obtaining adequate dietary information for many shark and chimaera species has long been a challenge for ecosystem managers, largely due to logistical difficulties in the collection of large sample sizes required for stomach content analyses. Here, we use multivariate analysis of signature fatty acid (FA) profiles as a complementary method to examine the diet composition of 16 demersal shark and chimaera species, collected off south eastern Australia. Comparative results of FA profiles of potential prey and chondrichthyan species mostly agree with the stomach content data. Multivariate analysis correctly classified chimaeras as prominent low-order and benthic consumers, medium-sized dogfish as predators of mid-trophic fish and squid, catsharks as dominant cephalopod consumers, and larger and deeper dwelling dogfish as feeders of bathypelagic fish, squid and feeding on higher order species (cetaceans and seals). Our results demonstrate that signature FA analysis can be applied in dietary studies of sharks and chimaeras to (1) distinguish interspecific differences in general resource (diet and habitat) use patterns; (2) identify degrees of dietary specialisation; and (3) detect niche partitioning of resources by co-occurring species. The FA profiling approach is particularly valuable where sample numbers are likely to be low, such as for these deep-sea and threatened organisms.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:biochemical tracers, chondrichthyans, deep-water, signature-lipids, trophic ecology
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology)
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Marine systems and management
Objective Field:Marine biodiversity
UTAS Author:Pethybridge, H (Miss Heidi Pethybridge)
UTAS Author:Daley, RK (Mr Ross Daley)
UTAS Author:Nichols, PD (Dr Peter Nichols)
ID Code:78033
Year Published:2011
Web of Science® Times Cited:71
Deposited By:IMAS Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2012-06-12
Last Modified:2017-11-01
Downloads:3 View Download Statistics

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