[MARMAM] New publication: Trophic position of dolphins tracks recent changes in the pelagic ecosystem of the Macaronesian region (NE Atlantic)

Camilo Saavedra camilo.saavedra at ieo.csic.es
Wed Oct 26 00:07:06 PDT 2022

Dear all.

We are pleased to share with you our recently published paper on bulk 
and compound-specific stable isotope analyses of several species of 
cetaceans from the Macaronesia (Canary Islands, Madeira and Azores)

It has been published, in open access, in Marine Ecology Progress 
Series, so you can freely access it through the following link: 

Cite this article as:

Bode A, Saavedra C, Álvarez-González M, Arregui M and others (2022) 
Trophic position of dolphins tracks recent changes in the pelagic 
ecosystem of the Macaronesian region (NE Atlantic). Mar Ecol Prog Ser 
699:167-180. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps14176


Dolphins play a key role in marine food webs as predators of 
mid-trophic-level consumers. Because of their mobility and relatively 
long life span, they can be used as indicators of large-scale changes in 
the ecosystem. In this study, we calculated the trophic position (TP) of 
5 dolphin species from the Canary, Madeira and Azores Islands using bulk 
and compound-specific stable isotope ratios from muscle tissue to assess 
trophic adaptations to recent changes in the availability of feeding 
resources. Dolphin TP values were then compared with those of 7 other 
species of cetaceans from this region. Analysis of stable nitrogen 
isotopes in amino acids of the common dolphin indicated non-significant 
effects of changes in the basal resources of the food web and thus 
supported the use of bulk samples for TP estimations. Dolphins occupied 
an intermediate TP (mean: 3.91 to 4.20) between fin (3.25) and sperm 
whales (4.95). Species-specific TP were equivalent among islands. 
However, TP increased for the common dolphin and decreased for the 
striped dolphin (the latter also becoming more oceanic) between 2000 and 
2018 in the Canary Islands. These results suggest different impacts of 
recent changes in the oceanography and in the pelagic food web of the 
Macaronesian region on the trophic ecology of dolphin species.

Please, do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any question or 

Best wishes,

Camilo sp. (on behalf of all co-authors)


Dr. Camilo Saavedra Penas
Camilo.Saavedra at ieo.csic.es
Head of the Marine Mammals and Ecosystem team
Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO)


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