Marine Biology

, Volume 152, Issue 1, pp 135–147 | Cite as

Distribution and diet of juvenile Patagonian toothfish on the South Georgia and Shag Rocks shelves (Southern Ocean)

  • Martin A. CollinsEmail author
  • Katherine A. Ross
  • Mark Belchier
  • Keith Reid
Research Article


The distribution and diet of juvenile (<750 mm) Patagonian toothfish are described from four annual trawl surveys (2003–2006) around the island of South Georgia in the Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean. Recruitment of toothfish varies inter-annually, and a single large cohort dominated during the four years surveyed. Most juveniles were caught on the Shag Rocks shelf to the NW of South Georgia, with fish subsequently dispersing to deeper water around both the South Georgia and Shag Rocks shelves. Mean size of juvenile toothfish increased with depth of capture. Stomach contents analysis was conducted on 795 fish that contained food remains and revealed that juvenile toothfish are essentially piscivorous, with the diet dominated by notothenid fish. The yellow-finned notothen, Patagonotothen guntheri, was the dominant prey at Shag Rocks whilst at South Georgia, where P. guntheri is absent, the dominant prey were Antarctic krill and notothenid fish. The diet changed with size, with an increase in myctophid fish and krill as toothfish grow and disperse. The size of prey also increased with fish size, with a greater range of prey sizes consumed by larger fish.


Prey Size Killer Whale Bottom Trawl Elephant Seal Trawl Survey 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Thanks to Len Featherstone (Master) and the crew of the FPRV Dorada for their efforts during the surveys in 2003 and 2004. Sarah Clark, Therese Cope, Mike Endicott, Inigo Everson, Suzi Hawkins, Tom Marlow, Richard Mitchell, Tony North, Martin Purves, Jacek Szlakowski, Jamie Watts and Will Reid assisted with sorting trawl catches. Thanks to Geraint Tarling for assistance in identification of crustacean prey, Peter Rothery for statistics advice and to Claire Waluda and Sally Thorpe for help with the figures. South Georgia Groundfish Surveys were funded by the Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. This is a contribution to the BAS Discovery 2010 Programme.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin A. Collins
    • 1
    Email author
  • Katherine A. Ross
    • 1
  • Mark Belchier
    • 1
  • Keith Reid
    • 1
  1. 1.British Antarctic Survey, Natural Environment Research CouncilCambridgeUK

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