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Trophic resource partitioning drives fine-scale coexistence in cryptic bat species

Trophic resource partitioning drives fine-scale coexistence in cryptic bat species
Trophic resource partitioning drives fine-scale coexistence in cryptic bat species

Understanding the processes that enable species coexistence has important implications for assessing how ecological systems will respond to global change. Morphology and functional similarity increase the potential for competition, and therefore, co-occurring morphologically similar but genetically unique species are a good model system for testing coexistence mechanisms. We used DNA metabarcoding and high-throughput sequencing to characterize for the first time the trophic ecology of two recently described cryptic bat species with parapatric ranges, Myotis escalerai and Myotis crypticus. We collected fecal samples from allopatric and sympatric regions and from syntopic and allotopic locations within the sympatric region to describe the diets both taxonomically and functionally and compare prey consumption with prey availability. The two bat species had highly similar diets characterized by high arthropod diversity, particularly Lepidoptera, Diptera and Araneae, and a high proportion of prey that is not volant at night, which points to extensive use of gleaning. Diet overlap at the prey item level was lower in syntopic populations, supporting trophic shift under fine-scale co-occurrence. Furthermore, the diet of M. escalerai had a marginally lower proportion of not nocturnally volant prey in syntopic populations, suggesting that the shift in diet may be driven by a change in foraging mode. Our findings suggest that fine-scale coexistence mechanisms can have implications for maintaining broad-scale diversity patterns. This study highlights the importance of including both allopatric and sympatric populations and choosing meaningful spatial scales for detecting ecological patterns. We conclude that a combination of high taxonomic resolution with a functional approach helps identify patterns of niche shift.

bats, cryptic species, DNA metabarcoding, interspecific competition, molecular diet analysis, Myotis nattereri species complex, species coexistence, trophic partitioning
2045-7758
14122-14136
Novella-Fernandez, Roberto
25b2cef1-c3a7-4fae-99f5-8c26b584445b
Ibañez, Carlos
720fc66b-56ca-469e-90cb-dacef91483e3
Juste, Javier
d44bbd1c-ec75-43f4-87e6-214729740e0e
Clare, Elizabeth L.
1680f0dc-f2d1-43a1-ba6c-5b4a3516e706
Doncaster, C. Patrick
0eff2f42-fa0a-4e35-b6ac-475ad3482047
Razgour, Orly
107f4912-304a-44d5-99f8-cdf2a9ce6f14
Novella-Fernandez, Roberto
25b2cef1-c3a7-4fae-99f5-8c26b584445b
Ibañez, Carlos
720fc66b-56ca-469e-90cb-dacef91483e3
Juste, Javier
d44bbd1c-ec75-43f4-87e6-214729740e0e
Clare, Elizabeth L.
1680f0dc-f2d1-43a1-ba6c-5b4a3516e706
Doncaster, C. Patrick
0eff2f42-fa0a-4e35-b6ac-475ad3482047
Razgour, Orly
107f4912-304a-44d5-99f8-cdf2a9ce6f14

Novella-Fernandez, Roberto, Ibañez, Carlos, Juste, Javier, Clare, Elizabeth L., Doncaster, C. Patrick and Razgour, Orly (2020) Trophic resource partitioning drives fine-scale coexistence in cryptic bat species. Ecology and Evolution, 10 (24), 14122-14136. (doi:10.1002/ece3.7004).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Understanding the processes that enable species coexistence has important implications for assessing how ecological systems will respond to global change. Morphology and functional similarity increase the potential for competition, and therefore, co-occurring morphologically similar but genetically unique species are a good model system for testing coexistence mechanisms. We used DNA metabarcoding and high-throughput sequencing to characterize for the first time the trophic ecology of two recently described cryptic bat species with parapatric ranges, Myotis escalerai and Myotis crypticus. We collected fecal samples from allopatric and sympatric regions and from syntopic and allotopic locations within the sympatric region to describe the diets both taxonomically and functionally and compare prey consumption with prey availability. The two bat species had highly similar diets characterized by high arthropod diversity, particularly Lepidoptera, Diptera and Araneae, and a high proportion of prey that is not volant at night, which points to extensive use of gleaning. Diet overlap at the prey item level was lower in syntopic populations, supporting trophic shift under fine-scale co-occurrence. Furthermore, the diet of M. escalerai had a marginally lower proportion of not nocturnally volant prey in syntopic populations, suggesting that the shift in diet may be driven by a change in foraging mode. Our findings suggest that fine-scale coexistence mechanisms can have implications for maintaining broad-scale diversity patterns. This study highlights the importance of including both allopatric and sympatric populations and choosing meaningful spatial scales for detecting ecological patterns. We conclude that a combination of high taxonomic resolution with a functional approach helps identify patterns of niche shift.

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Accepted/In Press date: 20 October 2020
e-pub ahead of print date: 11 November 2020
Keywords: bats, cryptic species, DNA metabarcoding, interspecific competition, molecular diet analysis, Myotis nattereri species complex, species coexistence, trophic partitioning

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 445721
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/445721
ISSN: 2045-7758
PURE UUID: e06fd2bf-7f5a-4a79-a6f8-74cf399135a6
ORCID for C. Patrick Doncaster: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-9406-0693
ORCID for Orly Razgour: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-3186-0313

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Date deposited: 06 Jan 2021 17:42
Last modified: 18 Feb 2021 17:26

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Contributors

Author: Roberto Novella-Fernandez
Author: Carlos Ibañez
Author: Javier Juste
Author: Elizabeth L. Clare
Author: Orly Razgour ORCID iD

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