Scale-dependent response diversity of seabirds to prey in the North Sea

Fauchald, P, Skov, H, Skern-Mauritzen, M, Hausner, VH, Johns, DG and Tveraa, T 2011 Scale-dependent response diversity of seabirds to prey in the North Sea. Ecology, 92 (1). 228-239.

Fauchald et al. Ecology 2011.pdf

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Functional response diversity is defined as the diversity of responses to environmental change among species that contribute to the same ecosystem function. Because different ecological processes dominate on different spatial and temporal scales, response diversity is likely to be scale dependent. Using three extensive data sets on seabirds, pelagic fish, and zooplankton, we investigate the strength and diversity in the response of seabirds to prey in the North Sea over three scales of ecological organization. Two-stage analyses were used to partition the variance in the abundance of predators and prey among the different scales of investigation: variation from year to year, variation among habitats, and variation on the local patch scale. On the year-to-year scale, we found a strong and synchronous response of seabirds to the abundance of prey, resulting in low response diversity. Conversely, as different seabird species were found in habitats dominated by different prey species, we found a high diversity in the response of seabirds to prey on the habitat scale. Finally, on the local patch scale, seabirds were organized in multispecies patches. These patches were weakly associated with patches of prey, resulting in a weak response strength and a low response diversity. We suggest that ecological similarities among seabird species resulted in low response diversity on the year-to-year scale. On the habitat scale, we suggest that high response diversity was due to interspecific competition and niche segregation among seabird species. On the local patch scale, we suggest that facilitation with respect to the detection and accessibility of prey patches resulted in overlapping distribution of seabirds but weak associations with prey. The observed scale dependencies in response strength and diversity have implications for how the seabird community will respond to different environmental disturbances.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Divisions: Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science > Other (SAHFOS) (expired)
Depositing User: Mr David Johns
Date made live: 20 Mar 2014 09:35
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2017 16:10

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