The composition, abundance, diet and trophic status of zooplankton, bottom invertebrates, fish and nekton were analyzed based on the data collected by the staff of the TINRO-Center during complex bottom trawl catches on the Bering Sea shelf in the fall of 2004. The stomach contents of mass fish species were analyzed and the nitrogen and carbon isotopic composition of 36 mass species of plankton, benthos, nekton and nektobenthos, which together make up the basis of pelagic and bottom communities, was determined. It was found that zooplankton noticeably differ from benthic invertebrates in carbon isotopic composition: δ13C values in zooplankton varied from −20.3‰ to −17.9‰; in benthos—from −17.5‰to −13.0‰; and in fish—from −19.2‰ (juvenile walleye pollock) to −15.3‰ (saffron cod). The levels of 13C isotope in the tissues of fish depended mostly on the share of pelagic or benthic animals in their diet. δ15N values in the studied species ranged from 8.6‰ (in sea urchins) to 17.2‰ (in large Pacific cods), which corresponds to a trophic level of 2.8. Obviously the δ15N values reflect the degree of predation and generally show the ratio of primary, secondary and tertiary consumers in a fish’s diet. Trophic interactions manifest a high degree of interdependence between benthic and pelagic communities (even without taking into account such lower components of the food web as phytoplankton, bacteria, and protozoa) occurring in most nektonic species that depend on both bottom and pelagic food.
Russian Journal of Marine Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 25, 2009
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