Hybridization outcomes vary geographically and can depend on the environment. Hybridization can also reshape biotic interactions, leading to ecological shifts. If hybrids function differently ecologically in ways that enhance or reduce fitness, and those ecological roles vary geographically, ecological factors might explain variation in hybridization outcomes. However, relatively few studies have focused on ecological traits of hybrids. We compared the feeding ecology of Catostomus fish species and hybrids by using stable isotopes (δ13C and δ15N) as a proxy for diet and habitat use, and compared two native species, an introduced species, and three interspecific hybrid crosses. We included hybrids and parental species from seven rivers where hybridization outcomes vary. Relative isotopic niches of native species varied geographically, but native species did not fully overlap in isotopic space in any river sampled, suggesting little overlap of resource use between historically sympatric species. The introduced species overlapped with one or both native species in every river, suggesting similar resource use and potential competition. Hybrids occupied intermediate, matching, or more transgressive isotopic niches, and varied within and among rivers. Ecological outcomes of hybridization varied across locations, implying that hybridization might have unpredictable, idiosyncratic ecological effects.
- ecological interactions
- stable isotopes