Retrospective quantification of estuarine feeding activity by coastally caught marine fishes

Chris D. B. Leakey*, Martin J. Attrill, Simon Jennings, Mark F. Fitzsimons

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Many commercially important marine fishes are found in estuaries, particularly as juveniles. The estuaries may provide a thermal resource, refuge from predators and a source of abundant prey. Here, carbon (delta C-13) and sulphur (delta S-34) stable isotope data from coastally caught common sole (Solea solea) and whiting (Merlangius merlangus) were used in independent mixing models to determine relative contributions of estuarine prey to white muscle composition. The influence of assumed trophic fractionation was also investigated with sensitivity analysis.

At the population level, there was evidence for estuarine contributions to muscle tissue in both species (means from 16.37% to 61.28%), though among-individual variability was considerable. delta C-13 and delta S-34 model outputs implied different estuarine contributions for the same individual. likely reflecting the slower turnover of delta S-34 than delta C-13. Sole exhibited population level plasticity in their feeding as juveniles, separating into two distinct juvenile sub-populations; but they are less plastic as older fish when they adopt increasingly marine diets. Whiting show individual plasticity as both juveniles and adults, feeding on prey of estuarine and coastal origin. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)210-214
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Sea Research
Volume60
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2008

Keywords

  • Stable isotopes
  • Marine fish
  • Estuarine feeding
  • Sole
  • Whiting
  • Mixing models
  • Southern North Sea
  • Thames Estuary, UK
  • STABLE-ISOTOPE RATIOS
  • CORAL-REEF FISHES
  • FOOD WEBS
  • DELTA-C-13
  • TISSUE
  • CARBON
  • FRACTIONATION
  • DELTA-N-15
  • TURNOVER
  • SULFUR

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