It is necessary to understand the resource partitioning among species, to describe the functioning of deep sea marine ecosystems. Functional morphology is an effective approach to understand and compare taxonomic units with different phenotypic characteristics related to swimming and foraging. In this study, our main objective was to delineate the functional traits with a view to determine the discrimination level and degree of functional niche overlap among seven common species inhabiting deep-sea waters in south-eastern Arabian Sea. Results indicated significant differences in the functional traits between species providing a low functional niche overlap. Although, the ecological and biological information of fishes were scarce, we demonstrated that functional analyses are effective to extrapolate the prey preferences, sizes and detection and propulsion efficiencies for their feeding and swimming strategies. Our study supports the hypothesis that in some environments with a limitation of resources, species coexisting is due to high resource partitioning. The present work is a first attempt to compare the morpho-functional characteristics and niche partitioning in the deep-sea fish assemblages from the Indian waters.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.