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Stomach content and stable isotopes illustrate large spatial similarity in the Wadden Sea fish food-web structure
Poiesz, S.S.H.; Witte, J.IJ.; van der Meer, M.T.J.; de Jager, C.; Soetaert, K.; van der Heide, T.; van der Veer, H.W. (2023). Stomach content and stable isotopes illustrate large spatial similarity in the Wadden Sea fish food-web structure. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 707: 57-76.
In: Marine Ecology Progress Series. Inter-Research: Oldendorf/Luhe. ISSN 0171-8630; e-ISSN 1616-1599, meer
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    Coastal fish community; Wadden Sea; Stomach content; Stable isotopes; Trophic position; Trophic structure; Marsdiep basin; Ems basin; Predator-prey relationships

Auteurs  Top 
  • Poiesz, S.S.H., meer
  • Witte, J.IJ., meer
  • van der Meer, M.T.J., meer
  • Jager, Z., meer
  • Soetaert, K., meer
  • van der Heide, T., meer
  • van der Veer, H.W., meer

    Spatial variability in the Wadden Sea fish food-web structure was studied by comparing stomach content and bulk stable isotopes of fish species caught simultaneously in the Ems and Marsdiep basins during 2012-2014. Almost all 31 fish species caught were generalist feeders. In both basins, similar predator-prey relationships were found in which a few key prey species fuelled the fish food web. Copepods and brown shrimp were the most important prey species in both basins, mysid shrimp were more important as prey in the Ems basin, while shore crab and herring were more important prey species in the Marsdiep basin. The observed spatial variability in prey preferences was most likely the result of local differences in predator and prey abundances. Published absolute trophic positions based on compound-specific stable isotopes were available for some fish species and indicated low variability between the basins. Estimated absolute trophic positions based on stomach content and on bulk stable isotopes could not be used for the analysis of spatial variability due to sensitivity to sampling procedure (stomach content) and sampling size and baseline (bulk stable isotopes). Although estimates based on bulk stable isotopes underestimated absolute trophic levels in both basins, they can be used for the analysis of relative trophic positions of fish species. Relative trophic positions showed a significant correlation for most fish between the Ems and Marsdiep basins, also indicating a large spatial similarity in trophic structure.

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