Quantifying importance of marine prey in the diets of two partially anadromous fishes

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Abstract:

The importance of marine prey sources for partially anadromous fishes has received little study and is complicated by considerable plasticity in life history. We determined proportional contributions of marine, freshwater benthic, and freshwater pelagic prey to anadromous and resident Arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus) and lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) from several partially anadromous populations in the Canadian Arctic. Bayesian mixing models (MixSIR) applied to δ34S and δ13C ratios in lake-specific models indicated that marine prey accounted for 90%–91% of anadromous Arctic char diet and 60%–66% of anadromous lake trout diet. When these estimates were combined with proportion of anadromous individuals in partially anadromous populations, marine food sources accounted for 31%–44% of Arctic char population productivity and 16%–26% of lake trout population productivity. Although future research is needed to refine and quantify variability around these estimates, our results will allow better predictions of the effects of anthropogenic stressors on partially anadromous fishes.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/f2011-111

Affiliations: 1: Canadian Rivers Institute, Department of Biology, University of New Brunswick, 100 Tucker Park Road, Saint John, NB E2L 4L5, Canada. 2: Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 501 University Crescent, Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N6, Canada.

Publication date: November 7, 2011

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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