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Resource use and the impacts of fisheries on two sympatric sea snake species on the west coast of India

Dsouza, S and Rao, C and Manoharakrishnan, M and Shanker, K (2021) Resource use and the impacts of fisheries on two sympatric sea snake species on the west coast of India. In: Marine Biology, 168 (9).

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00227-021-03956-2


We investigated differences in resource use between two sympatric sea snake species from the west coast of India, Hydrophis curtus and H. schistosus, and described the impacts of fishing on the interactions of these species. We compared habitat use, diet, and isotopic niche width between species to determine resource overlap. We then compared trophic overlap of each species with the fisheries in the region and tested the effect of fishing intensity on their isotopic niche width. Hydrophis curtus used deeper habitats than H. schistosus, resulting in increased spatial overlap with fisheries. The two species also had distinct trophic niches and H. curtus prey formed a larger proportion of fishery catch on average than H. schistosus. This greater overlap could make H. curtus more vulnerable to the effects of fisheries. Both species exhibited expansion in short-term and long-term isotopic niche width along a gradient of fishing intensity which may indicate behavioural changes associated with the presence of fisheries. Hydrophis curtus is a trophic generalist, competes with syntopic species and is dominant in most assemblages. However, H. schistosus exhibits higher plasticity in resource use and may have an advantage over H. curtus. Sea snakes play an important role as mesopredators and as intermediate links in coastal marine food webs. Thus, fishing could alter the relative abundance of these mesopredators with cascading effects through coastal food webs. © 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Marine Biology
Publisher: Springer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH
Additional Information: The copyright for this article belongs to Authors
Keywords: Hydrophiidae; Hydrophis
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2021 10:20
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2021 10:20
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/69766

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