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Food resource partitioning in a Mediterranean demersal fish assemblage: the effect of body size and niche width
Colloca, F.; Carpentieri, P.; Balestri, E.; Ardizzone, G. (2010). Food resource partitioning in a Mediterranean demersal fish assemblage: the effect of body size and niche width. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 157(3): 565-574. hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00227-009-1342-7
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Colloca, F.
  • Carpentieri, P.
  • Balestri, E., more
  • Ardizzone, G.

Abstract
    We investigated the effects of body size, feeding strategy and depth distribution on the trophic resource partitioning among the 26 dominant fish consumers in a fish assemblage on the central Mediterranean shelf-break. The fish assemblage was structured in two major trophic guilds: epibenthic and zooplanktonic feeders, according to the position of each predator along the benthos–plankton gradient. Within each main guild, the species were segregated along a prey-size or fish-size gradient into five further guilds. Fish size and prey size were strongly correlated, indicating that the prey-size niche can be well explained by predator size. Fish consumers showed a significant negative correlation between the similarity in prey type and the similarity in depth distribution; most species with similar trophic preferences segregated along the depth dimension. The only predators overlapping in both food and depth preferences were those with a more specialist trophic behavior. These results suggest that fish body size and depth preferences are the two main niche dimensions, explaining a large part of the coexistence between the Mediterranean shelf-break fish consumers.

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