Ecological niche partitioning within a large predator guild in a nutrient-limited estuary

Philip Matich, Jerald S Ault, Ross E. Boucek, David R. Bryan, Kirk R. Gastrich, Christine L. Harvey, Michael R. Heithaus, Jeremy J. Kiszka, Valeria Paz, Jennifer S. Rehage, Adam E. Rosenblatt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Within oligotrophic ecosystems, resource limitations coupled with interspecific variation in morphology, physiology, and life history traits may lead to niche partitioning among species. How generalist predators partition resources and their mechanisms, however, remain unclear across many ecosystems. We quantified niche partitioning among upper trophic level coastal and estuarine species: American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis), bull sharks (Carcharhinus leucas), common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), common snook (Centropomus undecimalis), and Atlantic tarpon (Megalops atlanticus) in the Shark River Estuary of the Florida Coastal Everglades, USA using acoustic telemetry, stable isotope analysis, and visual surveys, combined with published diet and life history demographic information. Spatial and isotopic niche overlap occurred among most species, with variability in partitioning among interspecific interactions. However, seasonal variability in habitat use, movements patterns, and trophic interactions may promote coexistence within this resource-limited estuary. Beyond guild-level niche partitioning, predators within the Shark River Estuary also exhibit partitioning within species through individual specializations and divergent phenotypes, which may lead to intraspecific variability in niche overlap with other predators. Niche differentiation expressed across multiple organizational levels (i.e., populations and communities) coupled with behavioral plasticity among predators in oligotrophic ecosystems may promote high species diversity despite resource limitations, which may be important when species respond to natural and human-driven environmental change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalLimnology and Oceanography
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2017

Fingerprint

niche partitioning
guild
niches
estuaries
estuary
predator
predators
shark
nutrient
nutrients
niche overlap
sharks
resource
Tursiops truncatus
ecosystem
partitioning
ecosystems
life history
interspecific interaction
Centropomus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science

Cite this

Matich, P., Ault, J. S., Boucek, R. E., Bryan, D. R., Gastrich, K. R., Harvey, C. L., ... Rosenblatt, A. E. (Accepted/In press). Ecological niche partitioning within a large predator guild in a nutrient-limited estuary. Limnology and Oceanography. https://doi.org/10.1002/lno.10477

Ecological niche partitioning within a large predator guild in a nutrient-limited estuary. / Matich, Philip; Ault, Jerald S; Boucek, Ross E.; Bryan, David R.; Gastrich, Kirk R.; Harvey, Christine L.; Heithaus, Michael R.; Kiszka, Jeremy J.; Paz, Valeria; Rehage, Jennifer S.; Rosenblatt, Adam E.

In: Limnology and Oceanography, 2017.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Matich, P, Ault, JS, Boucek, RE, Bryan, DR, Gastrich, KR, Harvey, CL, Heithaus, MR, Kiszka, JJ, Paz, V, Rehage, JS & Rosenblatt, AE 2017, 'Ecological niche partitioning within a large predator guild in a nutrient-limited estuary', Limnology and Oceanography. https://doi.org/10.1002/lno.10477
Matich, Philip ; Ault, Jerald S ; Boucek, Ross E. ; Bryan, David R. ; Gastrich, Kirk R. ; Harvey, Christine L. ; Heithaus, Michael R. ; Kiszka, Jeremy J. ; Paz, Valeria ; Rehage, Jennifer S. ; Rosenblatt, Adam E. / Ecological niche partitioning within a large predator guild in a nutrient-limited estuary. In: Limnology and Oceanography. 2017.
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