Quantitative and qualitative estimates of trophic interactions provide valuable information on how food webs respond to perturbations. Recently, fatty acid signatures have been used to estimate dietary proportions of prey species for a variety of organisms in both wild and laboratory settings. Often these models must rely on the assumption that regardless of seasonal and spatial variation, fatty acid signatures allow discrimination among species. Whether this assumption holds over a variety of ecosystems has yet to be examined. To this end we investigated whether several fish species common to the Great Lakes maintain specific fatty acid signatures. First, variation in intra-specific fatty acid composition was assessed to establish whether among ecosystem differences existed in each species. Subsequently, a novel re-classification approach was utilized to evaluate whether fatty acid signatures allow accurate classification of species regardless of their sampling origin. High classification rates, even for samples of non-great lake systems indicate that qualitative fatty acid indicators (i.e., 16:1n-7 indicating benthic reliance) are transitive across freshwater bodies. Furthermore, our classification rates suggest that quantitative models may not need to be system and time specific.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Title of host publication||New Views New Tools|
|State||Published - 2015|