Dataset Information


Trophic ecology of Mexican Pacific harbor seal colonies using carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes.

ABSTRACT: There is limited information that provides a comprehensive understanding of the trophic ecology of Mexican Pacific harbor seal (Phoca vitulina richardii) colonies. While scat analysis has been used to determine the diet of some colonies, the integrative characterization of its feeding habits on broader temporal and spatial scales remains limited. We examined potential feeding grounds, trophic niche width, and overlap, and inferred the degree of dietary specialization using stable carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios (?13C and ?15N) in this subspecies. We analyzed ?13C and ?15N on fur samples from pups collected at five sites along the western coast of the Baja California Peninsula, Mexico. Fur of natal coat of Pacific harbor seal pups begins to grow during the seventh month in utero until the last stage of gestation. Therefore pup fur is a good proxy for the mother's feeding habits in winter (~December to March), based on the timing of gestation for the subspecies in this region. Our results indicated that the ?13C and ?15N values differed significantly among sampling sites, with the highest mean ?15N value occurring at the southernmost site, reflecting a well-characterized north to south latitudinal 15N-enrichment in the food web. The tendency identified in ?13C values, in which the northern colonies showed the most enriched values, suggests nearshore and benthic-demersal feeding habits. A low variance in ?13C and ?15N values for each colony (<1‰) and relatively small standard ellipse areas suggest a specialized foraging behavior in adult female Pacific harbor seals in Mexican waters.

SUBMITTER: Juarez-Rodriguez M 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6975529 | BioStudies | 2020-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

Similar Datasets

2020-01-01 | S-EPMC7271520 | BioStudies
| S-EPMC7244801 | BioStudies
2020-01-01 | S-EPMC7397484 | BioStudies
2015-01-01 | S-EPMC4526469 | BioStudies
2019-01-01 | S-EPMC6715212 | BioStudies
2015-01-01 | S-EPMC4577105 | BioStudies
2018-01-01 | S-EPMC5971838 | BioStudies
2020-01-01 | S-EPMC7039921 | BioStudies
2019-01-01 | S-EPMC6731742 | BioStudies
1000-01-01 | S-EPMC6092321 | BioStudies