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Trophic niche width and overlap of two sympatric gulls in the southwestern mediterranean

Trophic niche width and overlap of two sympatric gulls in the southwestern mediterranean The diets of two potential competitor species, Audouin's Larus audouinii and yellow-legged gulls Larus cachinnans, were examined while they bred at the Chafarinas Islands during 1993, 1994, and 1995. Data were collected during two commercial fishing regimes: (1) trawling and purse seine fisheries, and (2) diurnal trawlers only. Since the food supply for the gulls in this area was heavily reliant on the activity of purse seine fisheries, these contrasting situations allowed us to analyze short-term effects, induced by daily changes in food supply, on niche width, dietary shift, and niche overlap between the two species. Overall, both species relied mainly on fish for food, especially Clupeiforms, in the case of Audouin's gull irrespective of the fishing situation, and in the case of the yellow-legged gull, only when purse seine fishing was in operation. When purse seine boats did not operate (food shortage), yellow-legged gulls broadened their niche, consuming equal amounts of all the feeding resources, and they showed a dietary shift toward a greater consumption of prey from refuse tips. In contrast, Audouin's gulls did not change their niche width, but showed a slight dietary shift away from the consumption of epipelagic fish, compensated by an increase in reliance on benthic-mesopelagic resources. Niche overlap was clearly higher on days when both fishing fleets operated, probably because a superabundant food resource facilitates high overlap without affecting coexistence between the two species. Since our study was developed on the basis of daily variations in food supply, and competition effects are to be expected on a longer-term basis, these changes can be seen as the outcome of the coexistence of two species in stable competitive equilibrium. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Oecologia Springer Journals

Trophic niche width and overlap of two sympatric gulls in the southwestern mediterranean

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References (22)

Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 1997 by Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg
Subject
Life Sciences; Ecology; Plant Sciences; Hydrology/Water Resources
ISSN
0029-8549
eISSN
1432-1939
DOI
10.1007/s004420050285
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The diets of two potential competitor species, Audouin's Larus audouinii and yellow-legged gulls Larus cachinnans, were examined while they bred at the Chafarinas Islands during 1993, 1994, and 1995. Data were collected during two commercial fishing regimes: (1) trawling and purse seine fisheries, and (2) diurnal trawlers only. Since the food supply for the gulls in this area was heavily reliant on the activity of purse seine fisheries, these contrasting situations allowed us to analyze short-term effects, induced by daily changes in food supply, on niche width, dietary shift, and niche overlap between the two species. Overall, both species relied mainly on fish for food, especially Clupeiforms, in the case of Audouin's gull irrespective of the fishing situation, and in the case of the yellow-legged gull, only when purse seine fishing was in operation. When purse seine boats did not operate (food shortage), yellow-legged gulls broadened their niche, consuming equal amounts of all the feeding resources, and they showed a dietary shift toward a greater consumption of prey from refuse tips. In contrast, Audouin's gulls did not change their niche width, but showed a slight dietary shift away from the consumption of epipelagic fish, compensated by an increase in reliance on benthic-mesopelagic resources. Niche overlap was clearly higher on days when both fishing fleets operated, probably because a superabundant food resource facilitates high overlap without affecting coexistence between the two species. Since our study was developed on the basis of daily variations in food supply, and competition effects are to be expected on a longer-term basis, these changes can be seen as the outcome of the coexistence of two species in stable competitive equilibrium.

Journal

OecologiaSpringer Journals

Published: Sep 1, 1997

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