Seasonal and ontogenetic variation of whiting diet in the Eastern English Channel and the Southern North Sea

Type Article
Date 2020-09
Language English
Author(s) Timmerman Charles-AndreORCID1, Marchal PaulORCID1, Denamiel Margaux1, Couvreur Clemence1, Cresson PierreORCID1
Affiliation(s) 1 : HMMN, Centre Manche—Mer du Nord, Ifremer, Boulogne-sur-Mer, France
Source Plos One (1932-6203) (Public Library of Science), 2020-09 , Vol. 15 , N. 9 , P. e0239436. (20p.)
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0239436
WOS© Times Cited 9

An accurate description of trophic interactions is crucial to understand ecosystem functioning and sustainably manage marine ecosystems exploitation. Carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes were coupled with stomach content analyses to investigate whiting (Merlangius merlangus, Linnaeus, 1758) feeding behavior in the Eastern English Channel and Southern North Sea. Whiting juveniles and adults were sampled in autumn and winter to investigate both ontogenetic and seasonal changes. In addition, queen scallops (Aequipecten opercularis) samples were collected along with fish to be used as isotopic benthic baseline. Results indicated an ontogenetic diet change from crustaceans to fish and cephalopods. In autumn, δ15N values generally increased with fish size while in winter, a decrease of δ15N values with fish size was observed, as a potential result of spatial variation in baseline δ15N values. In winter, a nutrient-poor period, an increase in feeding intensity was observed, especially on the copepod Temora longicornis. This study provides further insights into whiting trophic ecology in relation to ontogenetic and seasonal variations, and it confirms the importance of combining several trophic analysis methods to understand ecosystem functioning.

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S1 Fig. Localization of whiting (orange crosses) and Aequipecten opercularis (green crosses) sampling stations by this, but also previous studies (Jennings & Warr 2003, P. Cresson unpubl. data). 185 KB Open access
S2 Fig. Ontogenetic dietary changes for autumn and winter. 313 KB Open access
S1 Table. Geographic coordinates of the whiting sampling stations for both seasons (CGFS in autumn and IBTS in winter). 17 KB Open access
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