Inter-Research > MEPS > v722 > p125-143  
Marine Ecology Progress Series

via Mailchimp

MEPS 722:125-143 (2023)  -  DOI:

Seasonal variation in diet and isotopic niche of nominally herbivorous fishes in subtropical rocky reefs

G. C. Cardozo-Ferreira1,2,*, C. E. L. Ferreira1, J. H. Choat3, T. C. Mendes1, R. M. Macieira2, C. E. Rezende4, J.-C. Joyeux2, K. D. Clements5

1Reef Systems Ecology and Conservation Lab, Department of Marine Biology, Fluminense Federal University, Niterói 24220-900, Brazil
2Laboratory of Ichthyology, Department of Oceanography, Federal University of Espírito Santo, Vitória 29075-910, Brazil
3College of Science and Engineering, James Cook University, Townsville, QLD 4811, Australia
4Research Group on Biogeochemistry of Aquatic Ecosystems, Centre for Bioscience and Biotechnology, Environmental Sciences Lab, Universidade Estadual do Norte Fluminense Darcy Ribeiro, Campos dos Goytacazes 28013-602, Brazil
5School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland, Auckland 92019, New Zealand
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Herbivorous fishes can be sensitive to environmental fluctuations, which influence both availability of food resources and metabolic rate, and thus nutritional requirements. Impacts on herbivore nutritional ecology may result from seasonal variations in temperature and meteoceanographic shifts such as wind-induced upwelling events. We evaluated the effects of seasonal changes on the nutritional ecology of 3 nominally herbivorous fishes (Acanthurus chirurgus, Sparisoma axillare and Kyphosus vaigiensis) in a subtropical rocky reef on the southeastern Brazilian coast using a combination of gut content analysis (at 2 scales of magnification) and stable isotope analysis. Sampling of in situ water temperature covered both patterns of seasonal variation in sea surface temperature, and seasonal occurrence of upwelling. Local upwelling occurred throughout the year but less frequently in winter. Diet and isotopic niche displayed little seasonal variation. Species-specific patterns of seasonal variation indicated distinct responses to environmental fluctuations. Temperature alone cannot explain the locality-specific variation in the nutritional ecology of herbivorous reef fish, and contrary to predictions that digestion in herbivorous fishes is impaired by cooler temperatures, no significant shifts in species’ nutritional ecology were detected.

KEY WORDS: Herbivory · Nutritional ecology · Dietary analysis · Seasonality · Stable isotopes · Trophic ecology

Full text in pdf format
Supplementary Material
Cite this article as: Cardozo-Ferreira GC, Ferreira CEL, Choat JH, Mendes TC and others (2023) Seasonal variation in diet and isotopic niche of nominally herbivorous fishes in subtropical rocky reefs. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 722:125-143.

Export citation
Share:    Facebook - - linkedIn

 Previous article Next article