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See detailTuna and dolphin associations in the Northeast Atlantic: Evidence of different ecological niches from stable isotope and heavy metal measurements
Das, Krishna ULg; Lepoint, Gilles ULg; Loizeau, Véronique et al

in Marine Pollution Bulletin (2000), 40

Associations of tunas and dolphins in the wild are quite frequent events and the question arises how predators requiring similar diet in the same habitat share their environmental resources. As isotopic ... [more ▼]

Associations of tunas and dolphins in the wild are quite frequent events and the question arises how predators requiring similar diet in the same habitat share their environmental resources. As isotopic composition of an animal is related to that of its preys, stable isotopes (13C/12C and 15N/14N) analyses were performed in three predator species from the Northeast Atlantic: the striped dolphin, Stenella coeruleoalba, the common dolphin Delphinus delphis, and the albacore tuna, Thunnus alalunga, and compared to their previously described stomach content. Heavy metals (Cd, Zn, Cu and Fe) are mainly transferred through the diet and so, have been determined in the tissues of the animals. Tunas muscles display higher delta15N than in common and striped dolphins (mean: 11.4 0/00 vs. 10.3 0/00 and 10.4 0/00, respectively) which reflects its higher trophic level nutrition. Higher delta13C are found in common (-18.4 0/00) and striped dolphin (-18.10/00) muscles than in albacore tuna (-19.3 0/00) likely in relation with its migratory pattern. The most striking feature is the presence of two levels of cadmium concentrations in the livers of the tunas (32 mg kg-1 dry weight vs. 5 mg kg-1 dry weight). These two groups also differ by their iron concentrations and their delta15N and delta 13C liver values. These results suggest that in the Biscay Bay, tunas occupy two different ecological niches likely based on different squid input in their diet. [less ▲]

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