Dietary variability in fishes: The roles of taxonomic, spatial, temporal and ontogenetic factors

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In spite of the general use of diet data in ecological research, still very little is known about the relative roles of spatial, temporal and biotic (e.g. taxonomic identity, size, sex) factors in dietary variability of fishes. Here, we applied canonical correspondence analysis and variation partitioning to examine the roles of taxonomic, annual, seasonal, lake basin, habitat and ontogenetic (standard length, L S) factors in the dietary variation of fishes in large and shallow Lake Balaton, Hungary. The analyses were performed at the assemblage (15 fish species) and the individual species levels, and based on high (24 fine resource categories) and low resolution (nine broad resource categories) diet data. As hypothesised, most of the explained variation related to interspecific differences, while the roles of sampling year, season, lake area, habitat and L S proved to be unexpectedly low at the assemblage level. In addition, no regularity was found in how the relative roles of these factors change between fish species. The high ratio of the unexplained variation suggests that individual variations in foraging strategies and resource use of fishes and unascertained stochastic processes had a strong influence on dietary variability both at the assemblage and the individual species levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-125
Number of pages17
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Fish assemblage
  • Food resource
  • Individual feeding strategy
  • Size-dependent pattern
  • Spatio-temporal variability
  • Variation partitioning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science

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