In Uruguay, the South American fur seal population (Arctocephalus australis) is increasing, whereas the South American sea lion (Otaria flavescens) population is declining. Previous research using fecal analysis suggested a high degree of trophic overlap between these species. In this study we used stable isotope analysis to assess whether trophic overlap occurs between female fur seals and sea lions during the breeding season. We measured δ15N and δ13C values in serum and skin from pups of both species (n = 47) to reflect pre- and postpartum maternal feeding habits, respectively. Our results suggested a lack of trophic overlap between lactating females; both serum and skin samples from sea lion pups had significantly greater δ13C and δ15N values than samples from fur seal pups, suggesting that lactating sea lions forage near shore, whereas lactating fur seals forage offshore. The pre- to postpartum diet shift in fur seals would be mainly caused by a reduction in the diversity of the exploited trophic levels, whereas in sea lions the shift could be related to a decrease in the diversity of foraging areas used. The observed trophic segregation between these sympatric otariids is probably driven by their synchronous breeding and similar maternal strategies.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 93 • No. 2