Master of Science (MS)
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Resource partitioning, ecotone, diet, mesoconsumers
Date of Defense
Pulse subsidies account for a substantial proportion of resource availability in many systems, having persistent and cascading effects on consumer population dynamics, and the routing of energy within and across ecosystem boundaries. Although the importance of resource pulses is well-established, consumer responses and the extent of resource partitioning is not well understood. I identified a pulse of marsh cyprinodontoid, invertebrate, and sunfish prey, entering an estuary, which was met by an influx of both marsh and estuarine predators. In response to the pulse, consumers showed marked diet segregation. Bass consumed significantly more cyprinodontoids, bowfin consumed significantly more invertebrates, and snook almost exclusively targeted sunfishes. The diversity of the resource pulse subsidizes multiple consumers, routing pulsed production through various trophic pathways and across ecosystem boundaries. Preserving complex trophic linkages like those of the Everglades ecotone may be important to maintaining ecosystem function and the provisioning of services, such as recreational fisheries.
Boucek, Ross E., "Resource Partitioning Among Three Mesoconsumers at a Marsh Mangrove Ecotone: a Response to a Seasonal Resource Pulse Subsidy" (2011). FIU Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 541.