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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 716:47-61 (2023)  -  DOI:

In situ food compositions reveal niche partitioning in small marine cladocerans and copepods in Daya Bay, South China Sea

Xuejia He1, Minglong Lei1, Feili Cheng1, Simin Hu2,*

1Research Center of Harmful Algae and Marine Biology and Key Laboratory of Eutrophication and Red Tide Prevention of Guangdong Higher Education Institutes, Jinan University, Guangzhou 510632, Guangdong, PR China
2Key Laboratory of Tropical Marine Bio-resources and Ecology, Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Applied Marine Biology, South China Sea Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510301, Guangdong, PR China
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Marine cladocerans and small copepods (<0.7 mm) share similar food resources based on their size and feeding modes but little is known about the mechanisms allowing their coexistence. Using the high-throughput sequencing (HTS) method, the in situ eukaryotic diets of the small cladocerans Penilia avirostris and Pseudevadne tergestina and the calanoid copepod Parvocalanus crassirostris during spring and summer in Daya Bay, South China Sea, were analyzed and their dietary preference and potential niche overlap were described and compared. Approximately 195 operational taxonomic units belonging to metazoans, phytoplankton, protists, and fungi were detected in the gut contents of the 3 species. Overall, animal and phytoplankton prey contributed evenly to the sequences of gut contents of P. avirostris, with diatoms and cnidarians being the most important prey, whereas arthropods were the major prey resource for P. tergestina, with an extremely high percentage (86.2%). P. crassirostris contained a high percentage of phytoplankton prey, with dinoflagellates and diatoms as the major prey (24.3 and 12.9%, respectively). Both P. avirostris and P. crassirostris consumed a higher percentage of phytoplankton with the seasonal transition. Low niche overlap (0.001-0.19) among the 3 small crustaceans highlights their strong dietary niche partitioning and explains their coexistence in Daya Bay.

KEY WORDS: Dietary composition · Cladoceran · Copepod · 18S rDNA · High-throughput sequencing · Niche partitioning

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Cite this article as: He X, Lei M, Cheng F, Hu S (2023) In situ food compositions reveal niche partitioning in small marine cladocerans and copepods in Daya Bay, South China Sea. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 716:47-61.

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