Diet composition and trophic levels of marine mammals


D. Pauly, A. W. Trites, E. Capuli, and V. Christensen


– ICES Journal of Marine Science, 55: 467–481.
Standardized diet compositions were derived for 97 species of marine mammals from
published accounts of stomach contents as well as from morphological, behavioural
and other information. Diet was apportioned among eight categories of prey types
(benthic invertebrates, large zooplankton, small squids, large squids, small pelagic
fishes, mesopelagic fishes, miscellaneous fishes and higher invertebrates). Trophic levels
were estimated for each species of marine mammals and compared with published
estimates derived using stable isotope ratios. Trophic levels ranged from 3.2–3.4 in
baleen whales and sea otters, to 3.8–4.4 in most pinnipeds and odontocete whales, to
4.5–4.6 in killer whales. Such information can be used for ecosystem modelling and
related studies.


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1998 International Council for the Exploration of the Sea
Key words: marine mammals, diets, trophic levels.
Received 21 June 1996; accepted 24 November 1997.
D. Pauly, and A. W. Trites: Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia,
Vancouver, B.C. V6T 1Z4 Canada. E. Capuli, and V. Christensen: International
Center for Living Aquatic Resources Management (ICLARM), Manila, Philippines.

Correspondence to D.

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