Trophic partitioning between sharks coexisting in the North Aegean Sea

Published on
27. March 2019

Trophic partitioning between abundant demersal sharks coexisting in the North Aegean Sea

Emre Yemisken, Joan Navarro, Manuela Forero, Persefoni Megalofonou, Lutfiye Eryilmaz


We examined the feeding ecology (diet, trophic width and trophic position) of five demersal shark species (Mustelus mustelus Linnaeus, 1758, Galeus melastomus Rafinesque, 1810, Scyliorhinus canicula Linnaeus, 1758, Scyliorhinus stellaris Linnaeus, 1758, Squalus blainville, Risso, 1826) coexisting in the north-eastern Aegean Sea (around Gökçeda Island) by combining stomach content and stable isotope analyses. The results indicate clear differences in diet between the five sharks. Cephalopods were mainly found in diet of S. stellaris and M. mustelus and the stomachs of G. melastomus, S. canicula and S. blainville included fish. S. blainville showed the highest trophic position in respect of stable isotope analysis (TPsia = 4.89) around Gökçeada Island. It was followed by G. melastomus (TPsia = 4.57). Direct isotopic values (both stable nitrogen and carbon) and isotopic niche width based on the Standard Ellipse Area (SEA) clearly differed among the five shark species. In particular, S. blainville was isotopically segregated from the other shark species studied, showing a narrow isotopic trophic niche and higher trophic level. In contrast, M. mustelus had the widest trophic niche of the five species studied. The niche width of S. stellaris was narrower than M. mustelus and S. canicula but wider than S. blainville and G. melastomus. SEA showed that G. melastomus has a specialized feeding strategy in the area. There is no overlap between S. canicula and S. stellaris in trophic width.

Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, DOI 10.1017/S0025315419000110


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