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Revista de biología marina y oceanografía

On-line version ISSN 0718-1957


MUNOZ, Lily et al. Diet plasticity of the South American sea lion in Chile: stable isotope evidence. Rev. biol. mar. oceanogr. [online]. 2013, vol.48, n.3, pp.613-622. ISSN 0718-1957.

Diet studies of the South American sea lion (SASL) in Chile suggest that this species is an opportunistic and generalist predator whose diet varies depending on the distribution of prey species and spatial and temporal variations in the abundance of these dams. However, these studies have been sporadic, geographically limited and based on stomach content analysis, which does not allow an integral analysis of the composition of the diet of this species and its potential spatial and temporal variability. In this study we analyzed the diet of the SASL in 3 geographic zones of the coast of Chile using analysis of stable isotopes δ13C and δ15N on hair and skin tissues. In the northern zone, the main prey species consumed by SASL were Isacia conceptionis (19.5%) for skin and Cilus gilberti (23.3%) for hair; in the central zone were Thyrsites atun (40.1%) for skin and Strangomera bentincki (31.1%) for hair, whereas in the southern zone the main species were pelagic fish (such as T. atun and Trachurus murphyi, 20.8%) for skin and farm-raised salmonids (20.7%) for hair analysis. These differences indicate variation in the composition of its diet. Variations between the analyzed tissues and also with previous studies suggest that this species is capable of adapting to intra- and inter-annual variations in the presence/absence of its prey.

Keywords : Mixed models; MixSir; Trophic specialization; δ13C; δ15N; Otaria flavescens; Chile.

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