Trophodynamic control by clupeid predators on recruitment success in Baltic cod?

Köster, Friedrich W. and Möllmann, Christian (2000) Trophodynamic control by clupeid predators on recruitment success in Baltic cod? ICES Journal of Marine Science, 57 . pp. 310-323. DOI 10.1006/jmsc.1999.0528.

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Throughout the 1980s, reproductive success of the top-predator cod declined and stock sizes of the main prey species herring and especially sprat, important planktivorous predators in the system, increased substantially. Although the hydrographic conditions conducive for survival of early life stages improved during the 1990s, recruitment success of cod remained far below average. As clupeids have been identified as major predators on cod eggs and larvae in the Baltic, increased predation may be an important factor hampering stock recovery. Results from stomach content analysis of herring and sprat during the spawning season of 1988–1995 and ichthyoplankton surveys in the Bornholm Basin (the only important spawning area of cod in the Central Baltic in this period) allow a comparison of estimated consumption rates by the predator populations with standing stocks and production rates of cod eggs and larvae. Despite uncertainties in the estimation procedure, the findings confirm substantial predation on cod eggs by both clupeid species. Especially at the beginning of the cod-spawning season, characterized by low zooplankton availability, sprat consumed a considerable proportion of the eggs produced. In 1993, the relative importance of zooplankton as prey increased, while fish eggs were encountered more rarely. In contrast, predation by herring remained on the same level or even increased, especially late in the spawning season. The larval stage of cod is not substantially affected by predation owing to limited spatial overlap between prey and predator.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Baltic cod, early life history stages, predation by herring and sprat
Research affiliation: OceanRep > Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences
OceanRep > Institute for Marine Science Kiel
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1006/jmsc.1999.0528
ISSN: 1054-3139
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2008 17:24
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2017 14:50

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