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Trophic specializations of damselfishes are tightly associated with reef habitats and social behaviours
Gajdzik, L.; Parmentier, E.; Sturaro, N.; Frédérich, B. (2016). Trophic specializations of damselfishes are tightly associated with reef habitats and social behaviours. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 163(12).
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162; e-ISSN 1432-1793, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Gajdzik, L., more
  • Parmentier, E., more
  • Sturaro, N., more
  • Frédérich, B., more

    Despite the increasing need to understand factors shaping community assembly, few studies have simultaneously explored the influence of niche-based and phylogenetic processes. Here, we investigate the relationships between diet, habitat and social behaviour in damselfishes (Pomacentridae) collected in 2014 at Moorea Island (17°30′S, 149°50′W), French Polynesia. Isotope ratios of carbon and nitrogen, in association with stomach contents, delineate three trophic groups: pelagic feeders consuming zooplankton, benthic feeders mainly grazing on algae and an intermediate group feeding on prey from the whole bentho-pelagic compartment. Sulphur isotope ratios indicate segregation between species of the outer reef mostly depending on oceanic input of zooplankton and the lagoonal species relying on locally produced resources or even on terrestrial supply. We demonstrate a tight association between dietary specializations, habitat characteristics and social behaviours, and these correlations are further confirmed by integrating the phylogeny of Pomacentridae. We also provide evidence of phylogenetic conservatism for the stomach content and the habitat–behaviour characters. However, the isotopic trait is evolutionarily more labile probably because it thoroughly depicts the ecological niche of species. To summarize, pelagic feeders (mainly from the Chrominae) usually form shoals in areas close to the open ocean at a maximum depth of 20 m. Benthic feeders (well represented in the Stegastinae) are ubiquitous, solitary and mostly territorial species found at various depths. The intermediate group includes gregarious species from three subfamilies that forage in the lagoon usually above 12 m depth. Overall, we give insight into processes that have structured the damselfish community in Moorea.

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