Polar Biology

, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 369–382 | Cite as

Summer and spring trophic niche of larval and juvenile Pleuragramma antarcticum in the Western Ross Sea, Antarctica

  • Antonia GranataEmail author
  • Giacomo Zagami
  • Marino Vacchi
  • Letterio Guglielmo
Original Paper


The aim of this paper is to contribute to the knowledge on the feeding habits of larvae and juvenile Pleuragramma antarcticum in the western Ross Sea. In summer, the diet of P. antarcticum postlarvae (8–17 mm) was dominated by calanoid eggs (35.5%), Limacina (32.1%) and tintinnids (17.6%), while the principal food of juveniles consisted mainly of copepods (98.2%), with Oncaea curvata being the most abundant (85.1%) and the most frequently consumed prey. The food composition of P. antarcticum postlarvae (24–29 mm), collected in spring, suggest that they fed actively under the sea ice. Stephos longipes, Harpacticus furcifer and Paralabidocera antarctica sea ice copepods represent, in all their different developmental stages, the most abundant biomass food in Terra Nova Bay in this period. Our results therefore suggest that the diet of younger Pleuragramma specimens shifted in prey composition from the first summer to the following spring. This study draws attention to the key role of the copepod, P. antarctica, in the food web of Terra Nova Bay.


Pleuragramma antarcticum Distribution Diet composition Copepods Western Ross Sea 



Logistical and financial support for this paper was given by the Italian National Project for Antarctic Research (PNRA).


  1. Arndt CE, Swadling KM (2006) Crustacea in Arctic and Antarctic sea ice: distribution, diet and life history strategies. Adv Mar Biol 51:197–315PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Carli A, Mariottini GL, Pane L (1990) Contribution to the study of copepods collected in Terra Nova Bay (Ross Sea). Nat Sc Com Ant Ocean Camp 1987–88, Data Rep II, pp 129–167Google Scholar
  3. De Witt HH (1970) The character of the midwater fish fauna of the Ross Sea, Antarctica. In: Holdgate MW (ed) Antarctic ecology, vol I. Academic Press, London, pp 305–314Google Scholar
  4. Efremenko VN (1983) Illustrated guide to fish larvae of the Southern Ocean. Cybium 7:1–74Google Scholar
  5. Fukuchi M, Sasaki H (1981) Phytoplankton and zooplankton standing stocks and downward flux of particulate material around fast ice edge of Lutzow-Holm Bay, Antarctica. Mem Natl Inst Polar Res Ser E (Biol Med Sci) 34:13–36Google Scholar
  6. Granata A, Guglielmo L, Greco S, Vacchi M, Sidoti O, Zagami G, La Mesa M (2000) Spatial distribution and feeding habits of larval and juvenile Pleuragramma antarcticum in the Western Ross Sea (Antarctica). In: Faranda F, Guglielmo L, Ianora A (eds) Ross Sea ecology. Springer, Berlin, pp 369–393Google Scholar
  7. Granata A, Cubeta A, Guglielmo L, Sidoti O, Greco S, Vacchi M, La Mesa M (2002) Ichthyoplankton abundance and distribution in the Ross Sea during 1987–1996. Polar Biol 25:187–202Google Scholar
  8. Guglielmo L, Costanzo G, Manganaro A, Zagami G (1990) Spatial and vertical distribution of zooplanktonic communities in Terra Nova Bay (Ross Sea). Nat Sc Com Ant Ocean Camp 1987–1988, Data Rep I, pp 257–398Google Scholar
  9. Guglielmo L, Granata A, Greco S (1998) Distribution and abundance of postlarval and juvenile Pleuragramma antarcticum (Pisces, Nototheniidae) off Terra Nova Bay (Ross Sea Antarctica). Polar Biol 19:37–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Guglielmo L, Zagami G, Saggiomo V, Catalano G, Granata A (2007) Copepods in spring annual sea ice at Terra Nova Bay (Ross Sea, Antarctica). Polar Biol 30:747–758CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hecq JH, Brasseur P, Goffard A, Lacroix G, Guglielmo L (1993) Modelling approach of the planktonic vertical structure in deep austral ocean. The example of the Ross Sea ecosystem. In: Royal Academy of Belgium, Ministry of Public Health and Environment (eds) Progress in Belgian oceanographic research (Brussels, 21–22 January 1993), Brussels, pp 235–250Google Scholar
  12. Hopkins TL (1987) Midwater food web in McMurdo Sound, Ross Sea, Antarctica. Mar Biol 96:93–106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hubold G (1984) Spatial distribution of Pleuragramma antarcticum (Pisces:Nototheniidae) near the Filchner and Larsen Ice Shelves (Weddell Sea, Antarctica). Polar Biol 3:231–236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hubold G (1985) The early life history of the high Antarctic Silverfish, Pleuragramma antarcticum. In: Siegfried WR, Condy PR, Laws RM (eds) Antarctic nutrient cycles and food webs. Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg, pp 445–451Google Scholar
  15. Hubold G, Ekau W (1990) Feeding patterns of post-larval and juvenile notothenioids in the Southern Weddell Sea (Antarctica). Polar Biol 10:255–260CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hubold G, Hagen W (1997) Seasonality of feeding and lipid content in juvenile Pleuragramma antarcticum (Pisces: Nototheniidae) from the southern Weddell Sea. In: Battaglia B, Valencia J, Walton WH (eds) Antarctic Communities. Species, Structure and Survival. Cambridge University Press, New York, pp 277–283Google Scholar
  17. Hureau JC (1994) The significance of fish in the marine Antarctic ecosystems. Polar Biol 14:307–313CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Innamorati M, Mori G, Lazzara L, Nuccio C, Lici M, Catalano G, Benedetti F (1990) Phytoplankton ecology in the Ross Sea. In: National Scientific Commission for Antarctica (ed) Oceanographic campaign 1987/1988, Data Rep Part II, Genova, pp 9–63Google Scholar
  19. Jacobs J (1974) Quantitative measurement of food selection (a modification of the forage ratio and Ivlev’s Electivity Index). Oecologia (Berlin) 14:413–417CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Keller R (1983) Contributions to the early life history of Pleuragramma antarcticum Boul. 1902 (Pisces, Notothenioidei) in the Weddell Sea. Meersforschung 30:10–24Google Scholar
  21. Kellermann A (1986a) Geographical distribution and abundance of postlarval and juvenile Pleuragramma antarcticum (Pisces, Notothenioidei) off the Antarctic Peninsula. Polar Biol 6:111–119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kellermann A (1986b) On the biology of early life stages of Notothenioid fishes (Pisces) off the Antarctic Peninsula. Ber Polarforsch 31:149Google Scholar
  23. Kellermann A (1987) Food and feeding ecology of postlarval and juvenile Pleuragramma antarcticum (Pisces, Notothenioidei) in the seasonal pack ice zone off the Antarctic Peninsula. Polar Biol 7:307–315CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kellermann A (1990) Catalogue of early life stages of Antarctic notothenioid fishes. BIOMASS Sci Ser 10:44–136Google Scholar
  25. Koubbi P, Vallet C, Razouls S, Grioche A, Hilde D, Courcot L, Janquin MA, Vacchi M, Hureau JC (2007) Condition and diet of larval Pleuragramma antarcticum (Nototheniidae) from Terre Adélie (Antarctica) during summer. Cybium 31:67–76Google Scholar
  26. Kurtz DD, Bromwich DH (1985) A recurring, atmospherically forced polynya in TNB. Antarct Res Ser 43:493–508Google Scholar
  27. Locarnini RA (1994) Water masses and circulation in thè Ross Gyre and environs. Dissertation, Texas A&M, pp 87Google Scholar
  28. Loeb VJ (1991) Distribution and abundance of larval fishes collected in the western Bransfield Strait region, 1986–87. Deep Sea Res 38:1251–1260CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Menshenina LL, Melnikov IA (1995) Under-ice zooplankton of the western Weddell Sea. Proc NIPR Symp Polar Biol 8:129–138Google Scholar
  30. Mizdalski E (1988) Weight and length data of zooplankton in the Weddell Sea in austral spring 1986 (Ant V/3). Ber Polarforschung 55:1–72Google Scholar
  31. Morales-Nin B, Palomera I, Schadwinkel S (1995) Larval fish distribution and abundance in the Antarctic Peninsula region and adjacent water. Polar Biol 15:143–154CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Moreno C, Rueda T, Asencio G (1986) The trophic niche of Pleuragramma antarcticum in the Bransfield Strait, Antarctica. Quantitative comparison with other areas of the Southern Ocean. Ser Cient INACH 35:101–117Google Scholar
  33. Ossola C, Licandro P (1997) Mesozooplankton under fast sea-ice in Terra Nova Bay (Ross Sea, Antarctica). Atti 12° Congresso AIOL Vulcano 18–21 Settembre 1996 1: 143–151Google Scholar
  34. Pane L, Feletti M, Francomacaro B, Mariottini GL (2004) Summer coastal zooplankton biomass and copepod community structure near the Italian Terra Nova Base (Terra Nova Bay, Ross Sea, Antarctica). J Plankton Res 26:1479–1488CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Patterson SL, Whitworth T (1990) Physical oceanography. In: Glasby GP (ed) Antarctic sector of the Pacific. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 55–93Google Scholar
  36. Radtke RL, Hubold G, Folsom SD, Lenz PH (1993) Otolith structural and chemical analyses: the key to resolving age and growth of the Antarctic silverfish, Pleuragramma antarcticum. Antarct Sci 5:51–62CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Sameoto DD, Saroszynsky LO, Fraser WB (1980) BIONESS, a new design in multiple net zooplankton sampler. J Fish Res Board Can 37:722–724Google Scholar
  38. Smith SL, Schnack-Schiel SB (1990) Polar zooplankton. In: Smith WO (ed) Polar oceanography, Part B: chemistry, biology and geology. Academic Press, London, pp 527–598Google Scholar
  39. Spindler M (1990) A comparison of Arctic and Antarctic sea ice and the effects of different properties on sea ice biota. In: Bleil U, Thiede J (eds) Geological history of the polar oceans: Arctic versus Antarctic. Kluwer, Dordrecht, pp 173–186Google Scholar
  40. Swadling KM (2001) Population structure of two Antarctic ice-associated copepods, Drescheriella glacialis and Paralabidocera antarctica, in winter sea ice. Mar Biol 139:597–603CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Swadling KM, Gibson JAE, Ritz DA, Nicols PD, Hughes DE (1997) Grazing of phytoplankton by coastal Antarctic copepods studied using 14C-methylene as a radiotracer. Mar Biol 128:39–48CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Swadling KM, McKinnon AD, De’ath G, Gibson JAE (2004) Life cycle plasticity and differential growth and development in marine and lacustrine populations of an Antarctic copepod. Limnol Oceanogr 49:644–655Google Scholar
  43. Tanimura A, Minoda T, Fukuchi M, Hoshiai T, Ohtsuka H (1984) Swarm of Paralabidocera antarctica (Calanoida. Copepoda) under sea ice near Syowa Station, Antarctica. Antarct Rec 82:12–19Google Scholar
  44. Tanimura A, Fukuchi M, Hoshiai T (1986) Seasonal change in the abundance of zooplankton and species composition of copepods in the ice-covered sea near Syowa Station, Antarctica. Mem National Inst Polar Res Spec Iss 40:212–220Google Scholar
  45. Tanimura A, Hoshiai T, Fukuchi M (1996) The life cycle strategy of the ice-associated copepod, Paralabidocera antarctica (Calanoida, Copepoda), at Syowa Station, Antarctica. Antarct Sci 8:257–266CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Vacchi M, La Mesa M, Greco S (1999) Summer distribution and abundance of larval and juvenile fishes in the Western Ross Sea. Antarct Sci 11:54–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Vacchi M, La Mesa M, Dalù M, Macdonald J (2004) Life stages in the life cycle of Antarctic silverfish, Pleuragramma antarcticum in Terra Nova Bay, Ross Sea. Antarct Sci 16:299–305CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. White MG, Piatkowski U (1993) Abundance, horizontal and vertical distribution of fish in eastern Weddell Sea micronekton. Polar Biol 3:41–53Google Scholar
  49. Wiebe PH (1972) A field investigation of the relationship between length of two, size of net and sampling error. J Cons Int Explor Mer 34:268–275Google Scholar
  50. Zunini Sertorio T, Salemi Picone P, Bernat P, Cattini E, Ossola C (1990) Copepods collected in sixteen stations during the Italian Antarctic Expedition 1987–1988. Natl Sci Com Antarct Ocean Camp 1987–1988, Data Rep II: 67–125Google Scholar
  51. Zunini Sertorio T, Ossola C, Licandro P (1994) Size, length–weight relationships and biomass of copepods in Antarctic waters (Terra Nova Bay, Ross Sea). Atti 10° Congresso AIOL Alassio 4–6 Novembre 1992, pp 667–680Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antonia Granata
    • 1
    Email author
  • Giacomo Zagami
    • 1
  • Marino Vacchi
    • 2
  • Letterio Guglielmo
    • 1
  1. 1.DBAEM, Dipartimento di Biologia Animale ed Ecologia MarinaUniversità di MessinaMessinaItaly
  2. 2.ICRAM, c/o Museo Nazionale dell’AntartideUniversità di GenovaGenoaItaly

Personalised recommendations