Special Issue "Trophic Ecology"
A special issue of Diversity (ISSN 1424-2818).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2018)
Dr. Vitor H. Paiva
University of Coimbra, Marine and Environmental Research Centre, Department of Life Science, Coimbra, Portugal
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Interests: seabird ecology; trophic ecology of marine predators; food-web interactions; spatial ecology; habitat modelling; human impacts; heavy metals and plastic pollution; climate change; marine conservation
Trophic ecology is a pivotal topic in all ecology domains. The unification of individual, community, and ecosystem approaches in ecology is emerging due to the growing availability of new techniques for assessing trophic interactions and their implications for ecosystems. Stable isotope analysis (SIA), has proven to be a useful technique/tool in diet reconstruction, characterization of trophic relationships, understanding resource allocation, constructing food webs or reconstructing animal migration and movements. Consequently, the number of studies using SIA in trophic ecology has increased exponentially over the past few decades. SIA is particularly useful in systems where direct feeding observations are difficult. The isotopes have advantages of recording time-integrated, assimilated diets, although they rarely record the taxonomic basis of these diets. Next generation sequencing and DNA metabarcoding of food DNA present in scats, provides a non-invasive and increasingly popular tool for identifying the prey taxa in vertebrate diet. The methodology does not rely on visually-identifiable prey remains surviving digestion, since it uses high-through-put sequencing of small, highly variable DNA regions that survive digestion to identify food species. A comparison of DNA data with parallel morphological analyses revealed a close correlation between the two methods. However, the sensitivity and taxonomic resolution of the DNA method was far superior. In some cases, DNA-based approaches to diet analysis may provide the only means of assessing the range and diversity of prey within faeces. Moreover, the use of SIA and/or DNA metabarcoding in combination with tracking information, has become a powerful tool to study, in a holistic manner, the spatial and trophic ecology of predators.
This Special Issue aims at highlighting and gathering both new findings and significant advances in the trophic ecology field.
Dr. Vitor H. Paiva
Manuscript Submission Information
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- Trophic Ecology of Predators
- Isotopic Niche Segregation
- Dietary Niche Partitioning
- Food-Web Interactions