Diet of a piscivorous seabird reveals spatiotemporal variation in abundance of forage fishes in the Monterey Bay region

Webb, L. A., & Harvey, J. T. (2014). Diet of a piscivorous seabird reveals spatiotemporal variation in abundance of forage fishes in the Monterey Bay region. Journal of Marine Systems.
Metadata
TitleDiet of a piscivorous seabird reveals spatiotemporal variation in abundance of forage fishes in the Monterey Bay region
AuthorsL. Webb, J. Harvey
AbstractBrandt's Cormorant (Phalacrocorax penicillatus) diet was investigated using regurgitated pellets (n = 285) collected on 19 sampling days at three locations during the 2006-07 and 2007-08 nonbreeding seasons in the Monterey Bay region. The efficacy of using nested sieves and the all-structure technique to facilitate prey detection in the pellets was evaluated, but this method did not increase prey enumeration and greatly decreased efficiency. Although 29 prey species were consumed, northern anchovy (Engraulis mordax) dominated and speckled sanddab (Citharichthys stigmaeus) also was important in the diet. Few rockfishes (Sebastes spp.) and market squid (Doryteuthis opalescens) were consumed compared with great prevalence in previous studies during the 1970s. El Niño and La Niña during the study provided a unique opportunity to examine predator response to variation in prey availability. Patterns of prey number and diversity were not consistent among locations. Greatest number and diversity of prey occurred at locations within Monterey Bay during La Niña, results not evident at the outer coast location. Short-term specialization occurred but mean prey diversity indicated a generalist feeding mode. This study demonstrated the importance of periodic sampling at multiple locations within a region to detect spatiotemporal variability in the diet of opportunistic generalists.
JournalJournal of Marine Systems
Date2014

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