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Molecular analysis of predator scats reveals role of salps in temperate inshore food webs


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Cavallo, C, Chiaradia, A, Deagle, BE, McInnes, JC ORCID: 0000-0001-8902-5199, Sanchez, S, Hays, GC and Reina, RD 2018 , 'Molecular analysis of predator scats reveals role of salps in temperate inshore food webs' , Frontiers in Marine Science, vol. 5, no. OCT , pp. 1-14 , doi: 10.3389/fmars.2018.00381.

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High precision, high coverage DNA-based diet analysis tools allow great insight into the food web interactions of cryptic taxa. We used DNA fecal-metabarcoding to look for unrecorded taxa within the diet of a generalist central-placed predator, the little penguin Eudyptula minor. We examined 208 scats from 106 breeding pairs throughout August–February in a large colony at Phillip Island, Australia. While we confirmed a largely piscivorous diet, we also recovered DNA sequences from gelatinous and crustaceous plankton groups that have not previously been detected in the little penguin diet using other diet analysis methods. Gelatinous plankton, including salps, appendicularians, scyphozoans, and hydrozoans were present in 76% of samples and represented 25% of all sequences. DNA recovered from minute copepods and appendicularians may indicate links between trophic levels through secondary predation. Percentage frequency of occurrence (%FOO) demonstrated that little penguin diet composition changed over months and stages (incubation, guard, and post-guard) of the breeding season (month: χ2 = 201.91, df = NA, p 2 = 33.221, df = NA, p = 0.015). Relative read abundance (RRA) uncovered variations in the relative abundance of taxa in the diet over months and stages (month: F = 53.18, df = 59, p F = 66.56, df = 29, p

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Cavallo, C and Chiaradia, A and Deagle, BE and McInnes, JC and Sanchez, S and Hays, GC and Reina, RD
Keywords: next-generation sequencing, foraging ecology, DNA barcoding, eDNA, jellyfish
Journal or Publication Title: Frontiers in Marine Science
Publisher: Frontiers Research Foundation
ISSN: 2296-7745
DOI / ID Number: 10.3389/fmars.2018.00381
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2018 The Author(s)Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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