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Foraging of rocky habitat cichlid fishes in Lake Malawi: coexistence through niche partitioning?

Foraging of rocky habitat cichlid fishes in Lake Malawi: coexistence through niche partitioning?
Foraging of rocky habitat cichlid fishes in Lake Malawi: coexistence through niche partitioning?
The haplochromine cichlid fish communities of the rocky habitats of Lake Malawi are highly diverse; however, many species live side by side with apparently very similar resource requirements. There is a long-standing debate concerning whether these species partition their resources on a finer scale than has been previously reported or if species that are truly ecologically indistinguishable can coexist. A field study of food resource use was conducted to determine whether coexisting species segregate their diet and foraging sites. Significant differences between species were found, yet considerable inter-specific resource use overlap was commonplace. The data indicate that these cichlid species coexist both with and without niche differentiation. We propose that alternatives to niche differentiation should be considered to explain how many species coexist in Lake Malawi cichlid communities.
Lake Malawi, Cichlid fishes, Coexistence, Diet, Niche partitioning
0029-8549
283-292
Genner, Martin J.
90547c65-c194-4c93-8ea4-b8523acef1a6
Turner, George F.
7bcbe166-d7cf-479f-938a-42fa623949e0
Hawkins, Stephen J.
758fe1c1-30cd-4ed1-bb65-2471dc7c11fa
Genner, Martin J.
90547c65-c194-4c93-8ea4-b8523acef1a6
Turner, George F.
7bcbe166-d7cf-479f-938a-42fa623949e0
Hawkins, Stephen J.
758fe1c1-30cd-4ed1-bb65-2471dc7c11fa

Genner, Martin J., Turner, George F. and Hawkins, Stephen J. (1999) Foraging of rocky habitat cichlid fishes in Lake Malawi: coexistence through niche partitioning? Oecologia, 121 (2), 283-292. (doi:10.1007/s004420050930).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The haplochromine cichlid fish communities of the rocky habitats of Lake Malawi are highly diverse; however, many species live side by side with apparently very similar resource requirements. There is a long-standing debate concerning whether these species partition their resources on a finer scale than has been previously reported or if species that are truly ecologically indistinguishable can coexist. A field study of food resource use was conducted to determine whether coexisting species segregate their diet and foraging sites. Significant differences between species were found, yet considerable inter-specific resource use overlap was commonplace. The data indicate that these cichlid species coexist both with and without niche differentiation. We propose that alternatives to niche differentiation should be considered to explain how many species coexist in Lake Malawi cichlid communities.

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Published date: 1999
Keywords: Lake Malawi, Cichlid fishes, Coexistence, Diet, Niche partitioning

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 188579
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/188579
ISSN: 0029-8549
PURE UUID: e2be9822-e4e1-4aac-948f-4449320e18f4

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Date deposited: 25 May 2011 14:21
Last modified: 25 Nov 2019 21:14

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