MEPS 563:233-247 (2017)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11965

Sympatric Globicephala species: feeding ecology and contamination status based on stable isotopes and trace elements

S. S. Monteiro1,2,3,9,*, F. Caurant4, A. López5,6, J. Cedeira6, M. Ferreira1,3, J. V. Vingada3,7, C. Eira3,5, P. Méndez-Fernandez8

1Departamento de Biologia & CBMA, Universidade de Minho, Campus de Gualtar, 4710-047 Braga, Portugal
2School of Biological Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Tillydrone Avenue, Aberdeen AB24 2TZ, UK
3Sociedade Portuguesa de Vida Selvagem, Universidade de Minho, Departamento de Biologia, Campus de Gualtar, 4710-047 Braga, Portugal
4Centre d’Études Biologiques de Chizé, UMR 7372 CNRS-ULR, 2 Rue Olympe de Gouges, 17042 La Rochelle Cedex 01, France
5Departamento de Biologia & CESAM, Universidade de Aveiro, Campus Universitário de Santiago, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
6Coordinadora para o Estudio dos Mamíferos Mariños (CEMMA), 36380 Gondomar, Pontevedra, Spain
7Departamento de Biologia & CESAM, Universidade de Minho, Campus de Gualtar, 4710-047 Braga, Portugal
8Oceanographic Institute of the University of São Paulo, Cidade Universitária, São Paulo 05508-120, SP, Brazil
9Present address: Departamento de Biologia & CESAM, Universidade de Aveiro, Campus Universitário de Santiago, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Recent legal frameworks and the limited availability of information highlight the need to understand the ecological status and impact of anthropogenic threats on marine populations. In this study, a multi-tracer approach combining stable isotopes and 14 trace elements was used to infer information concerning the feeding ecology, contamination status and ecological segregation of 2 sympatric species of the Globicephala genus which stranded off the northern and western Iberian Peninsula (NWIP): the long-finned pilot whale Globicephala melas (LFPW) and the short-finned pilot whale Globicephala macrorhynchus (SFPW). Additionally, the potential influence of biological variables was investigated. Although both species presented similar stable isotope values, there were inter-specific differences in non-essential trace elements, with higher levels reported for SFPW. There was evidence of the bioaccumulative behaviour of some elements (Ag, Hg, Se, Fe, Co). Results of this study suggest that when both SFPW and LFPW are present in the NWIP, they show similar feeding patterns over at least a short timescale, but over a long timescale different feeding and habitat preferences may occur. This study provides useful information on Globicephala. In particular, it represents the first report on the ecology and contamination status of SFPW in the northern limits of their distribution range, i.e. in the NWIP.


KEY WORDS: Stable isotopes · Trace elements · Multi-tracer approach · Feeding ecology · Ecological segregation · Toxicology · Bioaccumulation · North-west Iberian Peninsula


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Cite this article as: Monteiro SS, Caurant F, López A, Cedeira J and others (2017) Sympatric Globicephala species: feeding ecology and contamination status based on stable isotopes and trace elements. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 563:233-247. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11965

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