Feeding ecology of the early life-history stages of two dominant gobiid species in the headwaters of a warm-temperate estuary

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Abstract

The diet and population structure of larval and early juvenile Glossogobius callidus and Redigobius dewaali (Gobiidae) were examined from the headwater region of the permanently open Great Fish Estuary along the south-east coast of southern Africa. Stomach contents of five selected size classes were sorted and identified to the lowest possible taxonomic level for each goby species. Using % Index of Relative Importance values, ontogenic shifts and dietary breadth were determined for each species as was dietary overlap between species. Numerically, both gobiid species showed similar temporal and spatial trends. Seasonal differences in catches were evident, although no numerical differences across sampled sites were found. A large degree of dietary overlap was found between the two species. The zooplanktonic diet showed a greater degree of ontogenic shift in R. dewaali than G. callidus, although similar trends were found for both. In both goby species, Calanoid sp. (Copepoda) generally decreased in importance across size classes, being the most important in the smallest size class whilst Corophium sp. (Amphipoda) increased in importance across size classes, being the least important at the smallest size classes. For both G. callidus and R. dewaali, Insecta contributed significantly to at least one of the five size classes. The larger size classes showed the least dietary overlap and the highest niche breadth. In addition, as is the case in many gobiids worldwide, the larger size classes of both sampled gobiid species consumed a broader prey size range. In conclusion, dietary overlap was largely similar between the young gobiids, suggesting that either food resources are not limiting, or niche separation is attributed to differences in foraging strategies. Ontogenic dietary shifts were however present for both gobiids with regard to prey items and prey size, suggesting a greater degree of foraging niche separation in adults of the species.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-19
Number of pages9
JournalEstuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
Volume109
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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feeding ecology
headwater
niches
life history
estuaries
estuary
dietary overlap
ecology
foraging
Gobiidae
Insecta
Southern Africa
diet
Amphipoda
prey size
Copepoda
population structure
stomach
coasts
niche

Cite this

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title = "Feeding ecology of the early life-history stages of two dominant gobiid species in the headwaters of a warm-temperate estuary",
abstract = "The diet and population structure of larval and early juvenile Glossogobius callidus and Redigobius dewaali (Gobiidae) were examined from the headwater region of the permanently open Great Fish Estuary along the south-east coast of southern Africa. Stomach contents of five selected size classes were sorted and identified to the lowest possible taxonomic level for each goby species. Using {\%} Index of Relative Importance values, ontogenic shifts and dietary breadth were determined for each species as was dietary overlap between species. Numerically, both gobiid species showed similar temporal and spatial trends. Seasonal differences in catches were evident, although no numerical differences across sampled sites were found. A large degree of dietary overlap was found between the two species. The zooplanktonic diet showed a greater degree of ontogenic shift in R. dewaali than G. callidus, although similar trends were found for both. In both goby species, Calanoid sp. (Copepoda) generally decreased in importance across size classes, being the most important in the smallest size class whilst Corophium sp. (Amphipoda) increased in importance across size classes, being the least important at the smallest size classes. For both G. callidus and R. dewaali, Insecta contributed significantly to at least one of the five size classes. The larger size classes showed the least dietary overlap and the highest niche breadth. In addition, as is the case in many gobiids worldwide, the larger size classes of both sampled gobiid species consumed a broader prey size range. In conclusion, dietary overlap was largely similar between the young gobiids, suggesting that either food resources are not limiting, or niche separation is attributed to differences in foraging strategies. Ontogenic dietary shifts were however present for both gobiids with regard to prey items and prey size, suggesting a greater degree of foraging niche separation in adults of the species.",
author = "Wasserman, {Ryan J.}",
year = "2012",
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language = "English",
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T1 - Feeding ecology of the early life-history stages of two dominant gobiid species in the headwaters of a warm-temperate estuary

AU - Wasserman, Ryan J.

PY - 2012

Y1 - 2012

N2 - The diet and population structure of larval and early juvenile Glossogobius callidus and Redigobius dewaali (Gobiidae) were examined from the headwater region of the permanently open Great Fish Estuary along the south-east coast of southern Africa. Stomach contents of five selected size classes were sorted and identified to the lowest possible taxonomic level for each goby species. Using % Index of Relative Importance values, ontogenic shifts and dietary breadth were determined for each species as was dietary overlap between species. Numerically, both gobiid species showed similar temporal and spatial trends. Seasonal differences in catches were evident, although no numerical differences across sampled sites were found. A large degree of dietary overlap was found between the two species. The zooplanktonic diet showed a greater degree of ontogenic shift in R. dewaali than G. callidus, although similar trends were found for both. In both goby species, Calanoid sp. (Copepoda) generally decreased in importance across size classes, being the most important in the smallest size class whilst Corophium sp. (Amphipoda) increased in importance across size classes, being the least important at the smallest size classes. For both G. callidus and R. dewaali, Insecta contributed significantly to at least one of the five size classes. The larger size classes showed the least dietary overlap and the highest niche breadth. In addition, as is the case in many gobiids worldwide, the larger size classes of both sampled gobiid species consumed a broader prey size range. In conclusion, dietary overlap was largely similar between the young gobiids, suggesting that either food resources are not limiting, or niche separation is attributed to differences in foraging strategies. Ontogenic dietary shifts were however present for both gobiids with regard to prey items and prey size, suggesting a greater degree of foraging niche separation in adults of the species.

AB - The diet and population structure of larval and early juvenile Glossogobius callidus and Redigobius dewaali (Gobiidae) were examined from the headwater region of the permanently open Great Fish Estuary along the south-east coast of southern Africa. Stomach contents of five selected size classes were sorted and identified to the lowest possible taxonomic level for each goby species. Using % Index of Relative Importance values, ontogenic shifts and dietary breadth were determined for each species as was dietary overlap between species. Numerically, both gobiid species showed similar temporal and spatial trends. Seasonal differences in catches were evident, although no numerical differences across sampled sites were found. A large degree of dietary overlap was found between the two species. The zooplanktonic diet showed a greater degree of ontogenic shift in R. dewaali than G. callidus, although similar trends were found for both. In both goby species, Calanoid sp. (Copepoda) generally decreased in importance across size classes, being the most important in the smallest size class whilst Corophium sp. (Amphipoda) increased in importance across size classes, being the least important at the smallest size classes. For both G. callidus and R. dewaali, Insecta contributed significantly to at least one of the five size classes. The larger size classes showed the least dietary overlap and the highest niche breadth. In addition, as is the case in many gobiids worldwide, the larger size classes of both sampled gobiid species consumed a broader prey size range. In conclusion, dietary overlap was largely similar between the young gobiids, suggesting that either food resources are not limiting, or niche separation is attributed to differences in foraging strategies. Ontogenic dietary shifts were however present for both gobiids with regard to prey items and prey size, suggesting a greater degree of foraging niche separation in adults of the species.

U2 - 10.1016/j.ecss.2012.05.003

DO - 10.1016/j.ecss.2012.05.003

M3 - Article

VL - 109

SP - 11

EP - 19

JO - Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science

JF - Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science

SN - 0272-7714

ER -