Nutrient limitation of primary producers affects planktivorous fish condition

Malzahn, A.M., Aberle, Nicole, Clemmesen, Catriona and Boersma, Maarten (2007) Nutrient limitation of primary producers affects planktivorous fish condition Limnology and Oceanography, 52 . pp. 2062-2071. DOI 10.4319/lo.2007.52.5.2062.

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We investigated whether nutrient limitations of primary producers act upward through food webs only in terms of density effects or if there is a second pathway for nutrient limitation signals channelled upward to higher trophic levels. We used tritrophic food chains to assess the effects of nutrient-limited phytoplankters (the cryptophyte Rhodomonas salina) on herbivorous zooplankters (the calanoid copepod Acartia tonsa) and finally zooplanktivores (larval herring Clupea harengus) living on the herbivores. The primary producers� food quality had a significant effect on fish condition. Our experimental phosphorus-limited food chain resulted in larval fish with a significantly poorer condition than their counterparts reared under nitrogen-limited or nutrient-sufficient conditions. Our results show that mineral nutrient requirements of consumers have to be satisfied first before fatty acids can promote further growth. This challenges the match/mismatch hypothesis, which links larval fish survival probability solely to prey availability, and could imply that reduced nutrient releases into the environment may affect fish stocks even more severely than previously believed.

Document Type: Article
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EOE-N Experimental Ecology - Food Webs
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EV Evolutionary Ecology of Marine Fishes
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.4319/lo.2007.52.5.2062
ISSN: 0024-3590
Projects: Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 17 Nov 2009 11:07
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2014 13:05

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