Understanding resource partitioning in sympatric seabirds living in tropical marine environments

Pontón-Cevallos, José , Dwyer, Ross, Franklin, Craig E. and Bunce, Ashley (2017) Understanding resource partitioning in sympatric seabirds living in tropical marine environments. Emu, 117 1: 31-39. doi:10.1080/01584197.2016.1265431


Author Pontón-Cevallos, José
Dwyer, Ross
Franklin, Craig E.
Bunce, Ashley
Title Understanding resource partitioning in sympatric seabirds living in tropical marine environments
Journal name Emu   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0158-4197
1448-5540
Publication date 2017-02-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/01584197.2016.1265431
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 117
Issue 1
Start page 31
End page 39
Total pages 9
Place of publication Melbourne, VIC Australia
Publisher Taylor & Francis Australasia
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Two closely-related species living in sympatry can only coexist if a shift towards a novel ecological niche occurs. For seabird species breeding in tropical regions, competitive pressures intensify due to high population densities in colonies and sporadic prey resources. Here, we used a stable isotope approach to infer inter- and intraspecific variation in foraging behaviour in two congeneric seabird species: Brown Booby (Sula leucogaster, N = 31) and Red-footed Booby (S. sula, N = 30) breeding on Raine Island in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Blood (red blood cells and plasma components) and feather samples were collected from breeding birds for δ13C and δ15N analysis. We found significant δ13C interspecific differences in feather and red blood cell tissue, but not in plasma, whereas δ15N values did not differ significantly between species in any of the tissues. Although interspecific differences were small, higher δ13C values found in Brown Boobies suggest differences in foraging strategy between the two species. Inter-sexual differences, either in size or ecology, did not translate into dietary niche segregation. This study suggests that niche-partitioning processes are flexible in the temporal scale, and can be constrained by reproductive behaviour and availability of prey resources.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
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Created: Wed, 23 Aug 2017, 16:33:54 EST by Gail Walter on behalf of School of Biological Sciences