Niche partitioning between planktivorous fish in the pelagic Baltic Sea assessed by DNA metabarcoding, qPCR and microscopy: Data and Analyses
Novotny, Andreas; Jan, Kinlan; Dierking, Jan; Winder, Monika (2022), Niche partitioning between planktivorous fish in the pelagic Baltic Sea assessed by DNA metabarcoding, qPCR and microscopy: Data and Analyses, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.vq83bk3vk
Marine communities undergo rapid changes because of human-induced ecosystem pressures. The Baltic Sea pelagic food web has experienced several regime shifts during the past century, resulting in a system where competition between planktivorous mesopredators is assumed to be high. While the two clupeids sprat and herring reveal signs of competition, the stickleback population has increased drastically during the past decades. Here, we investigate diet overlap between the three dominating planktivorous fish in the Baltic Sea, utilizing DNA metabarcoding on the 18S rRNA gene and the COI gene, targeted qPCR, and microscopy. Our results show niche differentiation between clupeids and stickleback and that rotifers play an important function in niche partitioning of stickleback, as a resource that is not being used, neither by the clupeids nor by other zooplankton. We further show that all the diet assessment methods used in this study are consistent but DNA metabarcoding describes the plankton-fish link at the highest taxonomic resolution. This study suggests that rotifers and other understudied soft-bodied prey may have an important function in the pelagic food web and that the growing population of pelagic stickleback is supported by the unutilized feeding niche offered by the rotifers.
The methods for the collection of data can be found in the respective manuscript and the data processing steps are explained in the README.
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Vetenskapsrådet, Award: 2016-04685
Svenska Forskningsrådet Formas, Award: 2020-01128