||Ferraton Franck1, Harmelin Vivien Mireille2, Mellon-Duval Capucine1, Souplet Arnauld1
||1 : IFREMER, Ctr Recherche Halieutique Mediterraneenne Trop, Lab Res Halieutiques, F-34203 Sete, France.
2 : Univ Aix Marseille 2, Ctr Oceanol Marseille, CNRS, UMR 6540, F-13007 Marseille, France.
||Marine Ecology Progress Series (0171-8630) (Inter-Research), 2007-05-14 , Vol. 337 , P. 197-208
|WOS© Times Cited
||Recruitment, Relative condition factor, Nitrogen, Carbon, Stable isotopes, Stomach contents, Merluccius merluccius
||Variations in space and time of juvenile hake diet (5 to 19 cm total length, TL) were investigated in the Gulf of Lions (NW Mediterranean) and related to variation in C and N stable isotope ratios, condition and abundance. Crustaceans (mysids and euphausiids) dominated the diet of the smallest juvenile hake (5 to 9 cm. TL), and fishes (sardines and anchovies) of the largest juveniles (15 to 19 cm TL). The transition from a crustacean- to a fish-based diet occurred in medium-sized juveniles (10 to 14 cm TL), which preyed on both crustaceans and fishes (gobiids). These juveniles preyed on fishes when living in shallow waters (30 to 50 m), and crustaceans when located in deep waters (70 to 150 m). Although hake diet did not change over time in shallow waters (fish-based diet), in deep waters it was dominated by mysids and euphausiids in 2002 and natantids in 2003. In the size range analysed, no correlation was found between juvenile hake length and their delta C-13 and delta N-15 values, but a significant correlation with depth was observed, with higher values in shallow waters. The condition factor of medium-sized juveniles did not vary with depth in 2002, but was significantly lower in deep waters in 2003 when they fed on natantids instead of small crustaceans. Abundance of juvenile hake in the Gulf of Lions drastically decreased from 2002 to 2003, particularly in deep waters. The lower condition factor of juvenile hake in deep waters in 2003, probably owing to a lack of suitable food, might have negatively affected their survival. These results support the hypothesis that food resources influence condition and survival of juvenile hake when settled, and thus affect NW Mediterranean fisheries.