Does upwelling intensity influence feeding habits and trophic position of planktivorous fish?

Lopez-Lopez, Lucia, Preciado, Izaskun, Munoz, Isabel, Decima, Moira, Molinero, Juan Carlos and Tel, Elena (2017) Does upwelling intensity influence feeding habits and trophic position of planktivorous fish? Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers, 122 . pp. 29-40. DOI 10.1016/j.dsr.2017.01.017.

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Supplementary data:


• The upwelling intensity can be tracked by the isotopic baseline of the food web.
• Spatial gradients in upwelling were reflected in the δ13C of planktivorous fish.
• Interannual diferences in the fish δ15N were likely due to dietary adjustments.

Food web configuration is shaped by many factors, including primary production patterns and oceanographic features, such as upwelling events. In this study, we investigate variability in the trophic position, food web interlinks and energy pathways of four planktivorous demersal fish in the Southern Bay of Biscay- NE Atlantic. The study area is exposed to upwelling events of varying intensity and shows a significant spatial gradient along the coast. The two sampling years were characterized by markedly different conditions, with weak summer upwelling in 2012 and an intense upwelling season in 2013. We used a complementary approach based on stomach content analysis (SCA) and stable isotope analysis (SIA) to test the effects of upwelling intensity and persistence on the food-web. In particular we investigated whether different intensities shift the main flow of energy between the pelagic and benthic energy pathways. We found conspicuous interannual changes in the isotopic POM, whose δ15N was 2.5‰ lower during the productive 2013 season. Interannual changes in the isotopic signature of the fish species were also detected, although their values did not mirror variability at the basal level. The SCA results did not match the isotopic changes, which likely reflected dietary adjustments of the species during summer. The upwelling intensity gradient along the coast did not affect the nitrogen isotopic ratio of any group, however there was a significant effect of such gradient on the carbon isotopic ratio of the fish and euphausiid species. This effect was likely related to the higher primary production associated with intense upwelling conditions.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Upwelling intensity; Planktivorous fish; Trophic level; Stable isotopes; Diet variability; Mesoscale
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EOE-N Experimental Ecology - Food Webs
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.dsr.2017.01.017
ISSN: 0967-0637
Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2017 08:15
Last Modified: 29 May 2017 07:34

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