[MARMAM] New publication: Foraging ecology of the common dolphin Delphinus delphis revealed by stable isotope analysis

Peters, Katharina K.Peters at massey.ac.nz
Tue Oct 20 20:28:07 PDT 2020


Dear MARMAM community,

My colleagues and I are very happy to share the publication of our paper ‘Foraging ecology of the common dolphin Delphinus delphis revealed by stable isotope analysis’ in Marine Ecology Progress Series.

Citation: Peters KJ, Bury SJ, Betty E, Parra GJ, Tezanos Pinto G, Stockin KA (2020). Foraging ecology of the common dolphin Delphinus delphis revealed by stable isotope analysis. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 652:173-186.

Abstract: Dolphins are among the largest and most diverse predators in marine ecosystems, but our understanding of their foraging ecology, which is crucial for ecosystem management, is poor. Delphinus delphis (common dolphins) are found in tropical and temperate waters globally. Stomach content studies indicate they are opportunistic predators that feed locally on abundant small pelagic schooling fish, but information is lacking on how their diet may vary seasonally and with ontogeny. We investigated effects of body length, sex, season, and year on D. delphis diet in the Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand, using carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) stable isotope analysis of 56 skin samples collected during 13 years (2004−2016). Dolphin δ15N values changed with body length, suggesting ontogenetic dietary variation. Nitrogen isotope values were higher in austral autumn/winter compared to spring/summer, whilst δ13C values decreased throughout the study period, suggesting temporal changes in primary productivity likely affecting the dolphins’ diet. Sex had a minor effect on dolphin δ13C values, with male and female isotopic niches overlapping by 62.6% and 45.2% (respectively). Our results provide a baseline for detecting future changes in the trophic ecology of D. delphis in a key habitat in New Zealand and highlight their role as a sentinel species in this coastal ecosystem.

The paper is available at https://www.int-res.com/abstracts/meps/v652/p173-186/
Alternatively, please email me at k.peters at massey.ac.nz<mailto:k.peters at massey.ac.nz> to request a pdf.

All the best,
Katharina

Katharina J. Peters, PhD
Postdoctoral Researcher
Cetacean Ecology Research Group | School of Natural and Computational Sciences | Massey University
Private Bag 102 904, North Shore, Auckland 0745, New Zealand
• k.peters at massey.ac.nz<mailto:k.peters at massey.ac.nz>
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