Data from: Regime shifts shorten food chains for mesopredators with potential sublethal effects

Dryad dataset consists of morphological, stable isotope, gut content and lipid data for Cephalopholis argus collected in the Seychelles Inner Island group.

Abstract [Related Publication]: 1. Predator populations are in decline globally. Exploitation, as well as habitat degradation and associated changes in prey availability are key drivers of this process of trophic downgrading. In the short term, longevity and dietary adaptability of large-bodied consumers can mask potential sub-lethal effects of a changing prey base, producing a delayed effect that may be difficult to detect.

2. In coral reef ecosystems, regime shifts from coral- to algae-dominated states caused by coral bleaching significantly alter the assemblage of small-bodied reef fish associated with a reef. The effects of this changing prey community on reef-associated mesopredators remains poorly understood.

3. This study found that the total diversity, abundance and biomass of piscivorous mesopredators was lower on regime-shifted reefs than recovering reefs, 16 years after the 1998 mass coral bleaching event.

4. We used stable isotope analyses to test for habitat-driven changes in the trophic niche occupied by a key piscivorous fishery target species on reefs that had regime-shifted or recovered following climatic disturbance. Using morphometric indices, histology, and lipid analyses, we also investigated whether there were sub-lethal costs for fish on regime-shifted reefs.

5. Stable isotopes demonstrated that fish from regime-shifted reefs fed further down the food chain, compared to recovering reefs. Lower densities of hepatocyte vacuoles in fish from regime-shifted reefs, and reduced lipid concentrations in spawning females from these reefs, indicated a reduction in energy stores, constituting a sub-lethal and potential delayed effect on populations.

6. Reduced energy reserves in mesopredators could lead to energy allocation trade-offs, and decreased growth rates, fecundity, and survivorship, resulting in potential population declines in the longer term.

The full methodology is available in the publication shown in the Related Publications link below.

    Data Record Details
    Data record related to this publication Data from: Regime shifts shorten food chains for mesopredators with potential sublethal effects
    Data Publication title Data from: Regime shifts shorten food chains for mesopredators with potential sublethal effects
  • Description

    Dryad dataset consists of morphological, stable isotope, gut content and lipid data for Cephalopholis argus collected in the Seychelles Inner Island group.

    Abstract [Related Publication]: 1. Predator populations are in decline globally. Exploitation, as well as habitat degradation and associated changes in prey availability are key drivers of this process of trophic downgrading. In the short term, longevity and dietary adaptability of large-bodied consumers can mask potential sub-lethal effects of a changing prey base, producing a delayed effect that may be difficult to detect.

    2. In coral reef ecosystems, regime shifts from coral- to algae-dominated states caused by coral bleaching significantly alter the assemblage of small-bodied reef fish associated with a reef. The effects of this changing prey community on reef-associated mesopredators remains poorly understood.

    3. This study found that the total diversity, abundance and biomass of piscivorous mesopredators was lower on regime-shifted reefs than recovering reefs, 16 years after the 1998 mass coral bleaching event.

    4. We used stable isotope analyses to test for habitat-driven changes in the trophic niche occupied by a key piscivorous fishery target species on reefs that had regime-shifted or recovered following climatic disturbance. Using morphometric indices, histology, and lipid analyses, we also investigated whether there were sub-lethal costs for fish on regime-shifted reefs.

    5. Stable isotopes demonstrated that fish from regime-shifted reefs fed further down the food chain, compared to recovering reefs. Lower densities of hepatocyte vacuoles in fish from regime-shifted reefs, and reduced lipid concentrations in spawning females from these reefs, indicated a reduction in energy stores, constituting a sub-lethal and potential delayed effect on populations.

    6. Reduced energy reserves in mesopredators could lead to energy allocation trade-offs, and decreased growth rates, fecundity, and survivorship, resulting in potential population declines in the longer term.

    The full methodology is available in the publication shown in the Related Publications link below.

  • Other Descriptors
    • Descriptor

      This data set is available from Dryad in MS Excel (.xlsx) format. Dryad data package: Hempson TN, Graham NAJ, MacNeil AM, Bodin N, Wilson SK (2017) Data from: Regime shifts shorten food chains for mesopredators with potential sublethal effects. Dryad Digital Repository. https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.bq4nn

    • Descriptor type Note
  • Data type dataset
  • Keywords
    • mesopredator
    • habitat degradation
    • coral bleaching
    • prey availability
    • food chain
    • trophic level
    • Cephalopholis argus
    • ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
  • Funding source
  • Research grant(s)/Scheme name(s)
  • Research themes
    Tropical Ecosystems, Conservation and Climate Change
    FoR Codes (*)
    • 060205 - Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl. Marine Ichthyology)
    SEO Codes
    Specify spatial or temporal setting of the data
    Temporal (time) coverage
  • Start Date 2014/04/15
  • End Date 2014/04/28
  • Time Period
    Spatial (location) coverage
  • Locations
    Data Locations

    Type Location Notes
    URL http://dx.doi.org/10.5061/dryad.bq4nn
    The Data Manager is: Tessa Hempson
    College or Centre
    Access conditions Open
  • Alternative access conditions
  • Data record size 220.3 KB
  • Related publications
      Name Hempson, Tessa N., Graham, Nicholas A.J., MacNeil, M. Aaron, Bodin, Nathalie and Wilson, Shaun K. (2018) Regime shifts shorten food chains for mesopredators with potential sublethal effects. 32(3), pp. 820-830.
    • URL http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1365-2435.13012
    • Notes
  • Related websites
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  • Related metadata (including standards, codebooks, vocabularies, thesauri, ontologies)
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    • Notes
    Citation Hempson, Tessa; Graham, Nicholas; MacNeil, Aaron; Bodin, N; Wilson, S (2017): Data from: Regime shifts shorten food chains for mesopredators with potential sublethal effects. James Cook University.