Environmental drivers and reproductive consequences of variation in the diet of a marine predator Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/articles/t148fj726

To the best of our knowledge, one or more authors of this paper were federal employees when contributing to this work. This is the publisher’s final pdf. The published article is copyrighted by Elsevier and can be found at:  http://www.journals.elsevier.com/journal-of-marine-systems/.

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  • Ocean conditions can greatly impact lower trophic level prey assemblages in marine ecosystems, with effects of ocean state propagating to higher trophic levels. In many regions throughout their range, common murre (Uria aalge) exhibit narrow dietary breadth in feeding chicks and therefore are vulnerable to recruitment failures of dominant prey species during the breeding season. Contrastingly, common murres nesting in the northern California Current off Oregon, exhibit high species diversity and variability in dominant prey consumed. We studied the diets of common murres over 10 years between 1998 and 2011, a period in which the northern California Current experienced dramatic interannual variability in ocean conditions. Likewise, murre diets off Oregon varied considerably. Interannual variation in murre chick diets was influenced by environmental drivers occurring before and during the breeding season, and at both basin and local scales. While clupeids (likely Pacific herring, Clupea pallasii) were an important diet component throughout the study period, in some years murre diets were dominated by Pacific sand lance (Ammodytes hexapterus) and in other years by osmerids (likely whitebait smelt, Allosmerus elongatus and surf smelt, Hypomesus pretiosus). Years in which the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and local sea surface temperatures were higher during summer also showed elevated levels of clupeids in murre diets, while years with higher North Pacific Gyre Oscillation index values and greater local winter ichthyoplankton biomass had fewer clupeids and more sand lance or smelts. Years with higher values of the Northern Oscillation Index during summer and an earlier spring transition showed higher proportion of smelts in the diets. Nesting phenology and reproductive success were negatively correlated with gradients in sand lance and clupeids, respectively, reflecting demographic consequences of environmental variability mediated through bottom-up food web dynamics.
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  • Gladics, A. J., Suryan, R. M., Parrish, J. K., Horton, C. A., Daly, E. A., & Peterson, W. T. (2015). Environmental drivers and reproductive consequences of variation in the diet of a marine predator. Journal of Marine Systems, 146, 72-81. doi:10.1016/j.jmarsys.2014.06.015
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