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Trophic position increases with thermocline depth in yellowfin and bigeye tuna across the Western and Central Pacific Ocean

Abstract : Estimates of trophic position are used to validate ecosystem models and understand food web structure. A consumer's trophic position can be estimated by the stable nitrogen isotope values (delta N-15) of its tissue, once the baseline isotopic variability has been accounted for. Our study established the first data-driven baseline delta N-15 isoscape for the Western and Central Pacific Ocean using particulate organic matter. Bulk delta N-15 analysis on 1039 muscle tissue of bigeye and yellowfin tuna were conducted together with amino acid compound-specific delta N-15 analysis (AA-CSIA) on a subset of 21 samples. Both particulate organic matter and tuna bulk delta N-15 values varied by more than 10 parts per thousand across the study area. Fine-scaled trophic position maps were constructed and revealed higher tuna trophic position (by similar to 1) in the southern latitudes compared to the equator. AA-CSIA confirmed these spatial patterns for bigeye and, to a lesser extent, yellowfin tuna. Using generalized additive models, spatial variations of tuna trophic positions were mainly related to the depth of the 20 degrees C isotherm, a proxy for the thermocline behavior, with higher tuna trophic position estimates at greater thermocline depths. We hypothesized that a deeper thermocline would increase tuna vertical habitat and access to mesopelagic prey of higher trophic position. Archival tagging data further suggested that the vertical habitat of bigeye tuna was deeper in the southern latitudes than at the equator. These results suggest the importance of thermocline depth in influencing tropical tuna diet, which affects their vulnerability to fisheries, and may be altered by climate change.
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Contributor : Valerie Michotey Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Monday, October 23, 2017 - 9:25:22 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, November 16, 2022 - 11:46:09 AM



Patrick Houssard, Anne Lorrain, Laura Tremblay-Boyer, Valérie Allain, Brittany S. Graham, et al.. Trophic position increases with thermocline depth in yellowfin and bigeye tuna across the Western and Central Pacific Ocean. Progress in Oceanography, 2017, 154, pp.49 - 63. ⟨10.1016/j.pocean.2017.04.008⟩. ⟨hal-01621952⟩



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