Ecological speciation in a generalist consumer expands the trophic niche of a dominant predator

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Thomas , S M , Harrod , C , Hayden , B , Malinen , T & Kahilainen , K K 2017 , ' Ecological speciation in a generalist consumer expands the trophic niche of a dominant predator ' , Scientific Reports , vol. 7 , 8765 . https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-08263-9

Title: Ecological speciation in a generalist consumer expands the trophic niche of a dominant predator
Author: Thomas, Stephen M.; Harrod, Chris; Hayden, Brian; Malinen, Tommi; Kahilainen, Kimmo K.
Other contributor: University of Helsinki, Environmental Sciences
University of Helsinki, Environmental Sciences
University of Helsinki, Environmental Sciences
Date: 2017-08-18
Language: eng
Number of pages: 10
Belongs to series: Scientific Reports
ISSN: 2045-2322
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-08263-9
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/220945
Abstract: Ecological speciation - whereby an ancestral founder species diversifies to fill vacant niches - is a phenomenon characteristic of newly formed ecosystems. Despite such ubiquity, ecosystem-level effects of such divergence remain poorly understood. Here, we compared the trophic niche of European whitefish (Coregonus lavaretus) and their predators in a series of contrasting subarctic lakes where this species had either diversified into four ecomorphologically distinct morphs or instead formed monomorphic populations. We found that the trophic niche of whitefish was almost three times larger in the polymorphic than in the monomorphic lakes, due to an increase in intraspecific specialisation. This trophic niche expansion was mirrored in brown trout (Salmo trutta), a major predator of whitefish. This represents amongst the first evidence for ecological speciation directly altering the trophic niche of a predator. We suggest such mechanisms may be a common and important - though presently overlooked - factor regulating trophic interactions in diverse ecosystems globally.
Subject: SUB-ARCTIC LAKE
COREGONUS-LAVARETUS L.
COMMUNITY-WIDE MEASURES
ISOTOPE RATIOS PROVIDE
ADAPTIVE RADIATION
SYMPATRIC DIVERSIFICATION
RESOURCE POLYMORPHISM
BROWN TROUT
WHITEFISH
EVOLUTIONARY
1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
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