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A stable isotope analysis of trophic polymorphism among Arctic charr from Loch Ericht, Scotland

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Analysis of nitrogen stable isotope ratios (δ15N) in white muscle and liver shows temporal stability in the trophic levels at which the two sympatric morphs of Arctic charr Salvelinus alpinus from Loch Ericht feed. The results confirm an ontogenetic dietary switch to a more piscivorous diet, occurred in all individuals of one of the morphs, above a size threshold of 16ยท5 cm fork length, indicating that this occurs at a high frequency in this population and that once made, the return to feeding to a lower trophic level is infrequent.

Keywords: Salvelinus alpinus; diet shift; nitrogen signature; piscivory; polymorphism

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Fish Biology Group, University Field Station, University of Glasgow, Institute of Biomedical & Life Sciences, Rowardennan, Glasgow, G63 0AW, U.K. and 2: Life Sciences Community Stable Isotope Facility, Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre, Rankine Avenue, East Kilbride, Glasgow, G75 0QF, U.K.

Publication date: 2004-11-01

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