Marine & Environmental Sciences Faculty Articles

Title

Stable Isotopes and Parasites Indicate Feeding Ecology in Florida, USA, Wading Birds

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

9-15-2021

Publication Title

Waterbirds

Keywords

feeding ecology, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, parasites, wading birds, White Ibis, δ13C

ISSN

1938-5390

Volume

43

Issue/No.

3-4

First Page

238

Last Page

250

Abstract

We assessed δ13C and δ15N profiles and endoparasite community composition in Great Egrets (Ardea alba), Great Blue Herons (A. herodias), and White Ibis (Eudocimus albus) from four wildlife rescue centers (two mainland, two on islands in the Florida Keys) in south Florida, USA to elucidate feeding ecology. We detected among-species differences for δ15N but not δ13C and noted decreased δ13C enrichment in Great Egrets and Great Blue Herons (but not White Ibis) from these centers. Parasite component community and infracommunity species richness were higher in Great Egrets and Great Blue Herons relative to White Ibis, and higher in birds of the same species from mainland centers. Multivariate analysis of parasite infracommunity structure detected co-occurring clusters of parasite taxa characteristic of Great Egrets and Great Blue Herons on the one part, and of White Ibis on the other; mainland Great Egrets and Great Blue Herons had similar parasite communities and clustered separately from conspecifics from the islands. We detected a significant (negative) correlation of infracommunity species richness with δ13C but not δ15N. Lastly, parasite infracommunity Bray-Curtis similarity correlated significantly with stable isotope Euclidean distances. We conclude that the two approaches converge towards similar outcomes, providing complementary and consilient information on host feeding ecology.

Comments

We thank Dr. C. France of the Smithsonian Institute's Museum Support Center for the stable isotope analyses and the four cooperating centers for the bird specimens: South Florida Wildlife Center, Pelican Harbor Seabird Station, Florida Keys Wild Bird Center, and Key West Wildlife Center. Bird specimens were possessed under FFWCC permit LSSC-12-00075 and LSSC-18-00062, USFWS permit MB8290-A-0, and a USFWS LOA to D. W. Kerstetter. Rock the Ocean Foundation provided additional financial support. Two anonymous reviewers provided helpful comments to earlier versions of the manuscript.

Additional Comments

Copyright © 2021 BioOne

ORCID ID

0000-0002-4440-8767, 0000-0002-4900-3099

ResearcherID

I-5396-2012

DOI

10.1675/063.043.0302

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Peer Reviewed

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