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Metabarcoding, stables isotopes, and tracking: unraveling the trophic ecology of a winter-breeding storm petrel (Hydrobates castro) with a multimethod approach

Carreiro, Ana Rita, Paiva, Vitor H., Medeiros Mirra, Renata, Franklin, Kirsty, Oliveira, Nuno, Fagundes, Ana I. and Ramos, Jaime A. 2020. Metabarcoding, stables isotopes, and tracking: unraveling the trophic ecology of a winter-breeding storm petrel (Hydrobates castro) with a multimethod approach. Marine Biology 167 (14) , -. 10.1007/s00227-019-3626-x

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Abstract

Detailed information on diet and foraging ecology is scarce for most small seabirds such as storm petrels. In this study, we used molecular techniques, stable isotope analysis, and geolocators to study the diet, trophic ecology, and at-sea distribution of Madeiran storm petrels (Hydrobates castro) breeding in Farilhões Islet, Portugal, in 2015–2017. The diet of Madeiran storm petrels was dominated by fish for both sexes and study years, with Gadidae representing the main prey family. In 2017, females also fed on Aulopiformes, Stomiiformes and Myctophiformes, which were not identified in the other groups, suggesting some degree of inter-annual and intersexual plasticity in their diet. The carbon isotopic ratios of birds during 2017 were significantly higher when compared to 2015, which might be related to foraging near coastal areas in 2017. Indeed, tracking data for 2017 show that birds foraged near the colony and near the West African coast. Overall, both sexes of this species exhibited a similar trophic ecology and diet during the breeding season. However, intersexual differences occurred during the non-breeding season, when females showed significantly lower nitrogen isotopic ratios than males (in 2016), and the lowest niche overlap between sexes occurred. This, together with the fact that environmental conditions appeared less favourable in 2016 suggests that intersexual differences in the foraging ecology of this species may be related with environmental conditions.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Dentistry
Biosciences
Subjects: Q Science > QL Zoology
Publisher: Springer Verlag (Germany)
ISSN: 0025-3162
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 13 January 2020
Date of Acceptance: 15 November 2019
Last Modified: 14 Jan 2020 12:00
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/128457

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