Marine Biology

, Volume 161, Issue 10, pp 2381–2393 | Cite as

Feeding ecology of juvenile rockfishes off Oregon and Washington based on stomach content and stable isotope analyses

  • Keith L. Bosley
  • Todd W. Miller
  • Richard D. Brodeur
  • Katelyn M. Bosley
  • Ahna Van Gaest
  • Anna Elz
Original Paper


The feeding habits of pelagic, juvenile rockfishes (Sebastes spp.) collected off Oregon in 2002, and Oregon and Washington in 2006, were examined using stomach content and stable isotope analyses. Sampling occurred along a series of transects across the shelf between Crescent City, California (Lat. 41°54.0′), and Newport, Oregon (Lat. 44°39.0′), in 2002, and off Willapa Bay, Washington (Lat. 46°40.0′), and the Columbia River, Oregon (Lat. 46°10.0′), in 2006. Species composition varied both years with distance from shore, but the predominant species were darkblotched (Sebastes crameri), canary (S. pinniger), yellowtail (2006 only; S. flavidus), and widow (S. entomelas) rockfishes. Stomach content analysis revealed that darkblotched rockfish had highly variable diets, and canary, yellowtail, and widow rockfishes exhibited a high degree of overlap in 2006. Multivariate analysis showed significant differences in diet based on distance from shore where caught, fish size, and species. Stable isotope analysis indicated that all species were feeding at about the same trophic level within each year, with a 1.5 ‰ difference in δ15N between years and regions. The difference in δ15N values may indicate a greater contribution of mesotrophic zooplankton such as euphausiids, hyperiid amphipods, and chaetognaths to fish diets in 2006. Depleted 13C values were indicative of diets based on primary production from a more offshore origin, suggesting that these rockfish had previously inhabited offshore waters. These results add to our understanding of some of the important environmental factors that affect young-of-the-year rockfishes during their pelagic phase.


Stable Isotope Prey Item Stable Isotope Analysis Stable Isotope Ratio Stomach Content Analysis 
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.



This study was funded through the NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center Internal Grants Program, U.S. Global Ocean Ecosystem Dynamics Northeast Pacific Program, and the Bonneville Power Administration. Comments from Chris Harvey, Aimee Keller, Chris Harrod, and two anonymous reviewers improved the manuscript considerably, as did edits from Karen Bosley. We also wish to thank Chris Harvey and Phil Levin for invaluable assistance obtaining funding, and R. Emmett, J. Fisher, T. Sandell, S. Pool, and P. Bentley for help in sampling. Special thanks to M. Kubo, W. Reichert, and K. Turk for help with the stable isotope analysis.

Ethical standard

These experiments comply with the current laws of the country in which they were performed.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg (outside the USA) 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Keith L. Bosley
    • 1
  • Todd W. Miller
    • 2
  • Richard D. Brodeur
    • 3
  • Katelyn M. Bosley
    • 4
  • Ahna Van Gaest
    • 5
  • Anna Elz
    • 6
  1. 1.Fishery Resource Analysis and Monitoring Division, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries ServiceNational Oceanic and Atmospheric AdministrationNewportUSA
  2. 2.Fisheries Research Section, Division of Fish and WildlifeCommonwealth of the Northern Mariana IslandsSaipanUSA
  3. 3.Fish Ecology Division, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries ServiceNational Oceanic and Atmospheric AdministrationNewportUSA
  4. 4.Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Hatfield Marine Science CenterOregon State UniversityNewportUSA
  5. 5.Environmental and Fisheries Sciences Division, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries ServiceNational Oceanic and Atmospheric AdministrationNewportUSA
  6. 6.Conservation Biology Division, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries ServiceNational Oceanic and Atmospheric AdministrationSeattleUSA

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