Special Issue "Trophic Ecology"

A special issue of Diversity (ISSN 1424-2818).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2018) | Viewed by 2739

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Vitor H. Paiva
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Life Science, Marine and Environmental Research Centre, University of Coimbra, 3004-531 Coimbra, Portugal
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

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

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
Guest Editor

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  • Trophic Ecology of Predators
  • Isotopic Niche Segregation
  • Dietary Niche Partitioning
  • Food-Web Interactions

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Trophic Diversity of Plankton in the Epipelagic and Mesopelagic Layers of the Tropical and Equatorial Atlantic Determined with Stable Isotopes
Diversity 2018, 10(2), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/d10020048 - 13 Jun 2018
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2421
Plankton living in the deep ocean either migrate to the surface to feed or feed in situ on other organisms and detritus. Planktonic communities in the upper 800 m of the tropical and equatorial Atlantic were studied using the natural abundance of stable [...] Read more.
Plankton living in the deep ocean either migrate to the surface to feed or feed in situ on other organisms and detritus. Planktonic communities in the upper 800 m of the tropical and equatorial Atlantic were studied using the natural abundance of stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes to identify their food sources and trophic diversity. Seston and zooplankton (>200 µm) samples were collected with Niskin bottles and MOCNESS nets, respectively, in the epipelagic (0–200 m), upper mesopelagic (200–500 m), and lower mesopelagic layers (500–800 m) at 11 stations. Food sources for plankton in the productive zone influenced by the NW African upwelling and the Canary Current were different from those in the oligotrophic tropical and equatorial zones. In the latter, zooplankton collected during the night in the mesopelagic layers was enriched in heavy nitrogen isotopes relative to day samples, supporting the active migration of organisms from deep layers. Isotopic niches showed also zonal differences in size (largest in the north), mean trophic diversity (largest in the tropical zone), food sources, and the number of trophic levels (largest in the equatorial zone). The observed changes in niche size and overlap (up to 71% between the mesopelagic layers but <50% between the epipelagic and upper mesopelagic layers) support the prevalence of in situ feeding at deep layers in tropical and equatorial zooplankton. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trophic Ecology)
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