Feeding strategies and resource partitioning among elasmobranchs and cephalopods in Mediterranean deep-sea ecosystems
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Cephalopods and elasmobranchs are important components of marine ecosystems, whereby knowing the ecological role they play in the structure and dynamics of trophic networks is paramount. With this aim, stomach contents and stable isotopes of the most abundant elasmobranch and cephalopod species (5 and 18 species, respectively) inhabiting deep-sea ecosystems from the western Mediterranean were analyzed. The predators investigated encompassed different taxonomic groups, such as rays and sharks within elasmobranchs, and squids, octopuses and cuttlefishes within cephalopods. Specifically, we investigated ontogenetic shifts in diet, feeding strategies and prey consumption, trophic structure and potential dietary overlap between and within both taxonomical groups. Stable isotope analysis revealed ontogenetic shifts in diet in three elasmobranch (rays and sharks) and two cephalopod (octopuses and squids) species. Isotopic data showed a contrasting food source gradient (δ13C), from pelagic (squids ...
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