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Title: Niche segregation mechanisms in marine apex predators inhabiting dynamic environments
Authors: Astarloa, Amaia; Glennie, Richard; Chust, Guillem and Garcia-Baron, Isabel; Boyra, Guillermo; Martinez, Udane; Rubio, Anna; Louzao, Maite
Citation: DIVERSITY AND DISTRIBUTIONS, 2021, 27, 799-815
Abstract: Aim Understanding the mechanisms that allow the coexistence of species is key to preserve full ecosystem functioning. In dynamic environments, the study of ecological niches faces the complexity associated to the three dimensionality of the habitat and requires information that reflects such heterogeneity. Within this context, this study intends to identify the segregation mechanisms behind the co-occurrence of five phylogenetically related pelagic birds by applying a functional perspective based on seabirds' vertical ranges and prey availability features such as depth and body size. Location Bay of Biscay. Methods Based on the hypothesis that niche differentiation may occur in any of the three dimensions of the marine environment, we (a) identified the biologically meaningful vertical range affecting seabird species, (b) modelled their environmental and trophic niches, (c) estimated an environmental and trophic overlap index for each pairwise species, and (d) developed a conceptual framework with the most plausible segregation hypotheses. Results The application of the conceptual framework revealed that in this particular area, pelagic birds coexist through environmental and trophic niche partitioning and potentially through vertical segregation, based on the different biologically meaningful vertical ranges we identified for each species. Indeed, some species responded to prey and oceanographic conditions on the surface (10 m), while others responded to the conditions on deeper waters (above the depth of maximum temperature gradient). These different responses could be interpreted as an additional mechanism to reduce competition, although seabirds diving records would be needed to contrast this hypothesis. Main conclusions Niche differentiation was found to be primarily driven by trophic and environmental niche partitioning, although species were also influenced by conditions on the vertical dimension. Considering all the dimensions of the niche is essential to fully understand how diving seabirds coexist in dynamic systems and provides insights on species' 3D niches that may help advance into their management.
Keywords: 3D environments; environmental niche; niche differentiation; pelagic birds; prey availability; trophic niche; vertical segregation; PUFFINUS-MAURETANICUS; FORAGING ECOLOGY; SEABIRD; ABUNDANCE; PREY; BAY; SHEARWATERS; BISCAY; CTD
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: WILEY
Type: Article
DOI: 10.1111/ddi.13229
ISSN: 1366-9516
E-ISSN: 1472-4642
Funder: ``Viceconsejeria de Agricultura, Pesca y Politicas Alimentarias-Departamento de Desarrollo Economico, Sostenibilidad y Medio Ambiente�� of the Basque Government
``Secretaria General de Pesca, Ministerio de Agricultura, Alimentacion y Medio Ambiente�� of the Spanish Government
Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO)
Spanish Government (Ministry of Science and Innovation)Spanish Government [CTM2013-47032-R]
EPELECO [RTI2018-101591-B-I00]
Horizon 2020 programme of the European Commission
Spanish Government (Ministry of Science and Innovation)Spanish Government
Ramon y CajalSpanish Government [RYC-2012-09897]
[PRE\_2016\_1\_ 0134]
Appears in Publication types:Artículos científicos

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