Feeding ecology of Greenland halibut and sandeel larvae off West Greenland

Claus Stenberg, Peter Munk, A. Folkvord, S.A. Pedersen

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Feeding ecology of Greenland halibut (Gr. halibut) (Reinhardtius hippoglossoides) and sandeel (Ammodytes sp.) larvae on the West Greenland shelf was studied during the main part of the productive season (May, June and July). Copepods were the main prey item for larval Gr. halibut and sandeel, constituting between 88 and 99% of the ingested prey biomass. For both species, absolute size of preferred prey increased during ontogeny. However, preferred copepod size in relation to larval length differed markedly. In Gr. halibut, the relative size of the prey declined during growth of the larvae, while it remained constant for sandeel at a level of 2.7% of larval length. This led to a reduction in prey niche overlap between the two species. The available prey copepod biomass differed distinctly across the shelf area. In May, the prey density of Gr. halibut was the highest in the off-shelf area in Davis Strait. In June and July, the prey-rich areas for both species were mainly located at the slopes of the banks and at the shelf break area. Gut fullness was higher in these areas than in neighbouring areas, suggesting that the larval food resource could be scarce. The feeding ecology of Gr. halibut and sandeel could explain why larval abundance indices of the two species have historically shown opposite responses to yearly environmental conditions and total zooplankton occurrence.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMarine Biology
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)937-952
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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