Stable isotope analyses reveal unique trophic role of reef manta rays (Mobula alfredi) at a remote coral reef

Lauren R. Peel, Ryan Daly, Clare A. Keating Daly, Guy M.W. Stevens, Shaun P. Collin, Mark G. Meekan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Stable isotope analyses provide the means to examine the trophic role of animals in complex food webs. Here, we used stable isotope analyses to characterize the feeding ecology of reef manta rays (Mobula alfredi) at a remote coral reef in the Western Indian Ocean. Muscle samples of M. alfredi were collected from D'Arros Island and St. Joseph Atoll, Republic of Seychelles, in November 2016 and 2017. Prior to analysis, lipid and urea extraction procedures were tested on freeze-dried muscle tissue in order to standardize sample treatment protocols for M. alfredi. The lipid extraction procedure was effective at removing both lipids and urea from samples and should be used in future studies of the trophic ecology of this species. The isotopic signatures of nitrogen (δ15N) and carbon (δ13C) for M. alfredi differed by year, but did not vary by sex or life stage, suggesting that all individuals occupy the same trophic niche at this coral reef. Furthermore, the isotopic signatures for M. alfredi differed to those for co-occurring planktivorous fish species also sampled at D'Arros Island and St. Joseph Atoll, suggesting that the ecological niche of M. alfredi is unique. Pelagic zooplankton were the main contributor (45%) to the diet of M. alfredi, combined with emergent zooplankton (38%) and mesopelagic prey items (17%). Given the extent of movement that would be required to undertake this foraging strategy, individual.

Original languageEnglish
Article number190599
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Volume6
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Stable isotope analyses reveal unique trophic role of reef manta rays (Mobula alfredi) at a remote coral reef'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this