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BIOCET Report Summary

Project ID: EVK3-CT-2000-00027
Funded under: FP5-EESD
Country: United Kingdom

Dietary information on small cetaceans (WP6)

Stomach content analysis results have identified the main prey species of the four studied cetacean species (common dolphin, harbour porpoise, bottlenose dolphin and striped dolphin) and described patterns of variation in relation to factors such as season, sex and year. Harbour porpoise has a narrower diet than any of the dolphin species. Diets of all species show differences between areas. In all studied cetacean species, many of the main prey species are commercially exploited fish.

Fatty acid signatures of different prey species can be distinguished. Harbour porpoise, common, bottlenose and striped dolphins have significantly different fatty acid profiles. Within cetacean species, fatty acid profiles vary between areas and with body length, season, and nutritional state. Geographical differences in the fatty acid profiles of cetaceans can be related to variations in prey fatty acid signatures. The fatty acid analysis supports the differences found in the stomach content analysis.

Reported by

University of Aberdeen
Department of Zoology
AB242TZ Aberdeen
United Kingdom
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