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Metabarcoding faecal samples to investigate spatiotemporal variation in the diet of the endangered Westland petrel (Procellaria westlandica)use asterix (*) to get italics
Marina Querejeta, Marie-Caroline Lefort, Vincent Bretagnolle, Stéphane BoyerPlease use the format "First name initials family name" as in "Marie S. Curie, Niels H. D. Bohr, Albert Einstein, John R. R. Tolkien, Donna T. Strickland"
<p style="text-align: justify;">As top predators, seabirds can be indirectly impacted by climate variability and commercial fishing activities through changes in marine communities. However, high mobility and foraging behaviour enables seabirds to exploit prey distributed patchily in time and space. This capacity to adapt to environmental change can be described through the study of their diet. Traditionally, the diet of seabirds is assessed through the morphological identification of prey remains in regurgitates. This sampling method is invasive for the bird and limited in terms of taxonomic resolution. However, the recent progress in DNA-based approaches is now providing a non-invasive means to more comprehensively and accurately characterize animal diets. Here, we used a non-invasive metabarcoding approach to characterize the diet of the Westland petrel (<em>Procellaria westlandica</em>), which is an endangered burrowing species, endemic to the South Island of New Zealand. We collected 99 fresh faecal samples at two different seasons and in two different sub-colonies. Our aims were to describe the diet of the Westland petrel, investigate seasonal and spatial variation in the petrels’ diet, and assess potential impacts of the New Zealand fishery industry. We found that amphipods were the most common prey, followed by cephalopods and fish. Our results could be the result of natural foraging behaviour, but also suggest a close link between the composition of prey items and New Zealand’s commercial fishing activities. In particular, the high abundance of amphipods could be the result of Westland petrels feeding on discarded fisheries waste (fish guts). Our results also showed significant differences in diet between seasons (before hatching vs chick-rearing season) and between sampling sites (two sub-colonies 1.5 km apart), indicating plasticity in the foraging strategy of the Westland petrel. Due to its non-invasive nature, metabarcoding of faecal samples can be applied to large numbers of samples to help describe dietary variation in seabirds and indicate their ecological requirements. In our example, dietary DNA (dDNA) provided valuable information regarding the dietary preferences of an iconic species in New Zealand’s unique biodiversity. dDNA can thus inform the conservation of endangered or at-risk species that have elusive foraging behaviours.&nbsp;</p> should fill this box only if you chose 'All or part of the results presented in this preprint are based on data'. URL must start with http:// or https://
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Conservation, dietary DNA, non-invasive DNA sampling, biodiversity, New Zealand, Procellariidae
NonePlease indicate the methods that may require specialised expertise during the peer review process (use a comma to separate various required expertises).
Conservation biology, Food webs, Marine ecology, Molecular ecology
No need for them to be recommenders of PCIEcology. Please do not suggest reviewers for whom there might be a conflict of interest. Reviewers are not allowed to review preprints written by close colleagues (with whom they have published in the last four years, with whom they have received joint funding in the last four years, or with whom they are currently writing a manuscript, or submitting a grant proposal), or by family members, friends, or anyone for whom bias might affect the nature of the review - see the code of conduct
e.g. John Doe []
2020-10-30 20:14:50
Sophie Arnaud-Haond