Polar Biology

, Volume 32, Issue 6, pp 941–945 | Cite as

Preliminary assessment of Greenland halibut diet in Cumberland Sound using stable isotopes

  • Susan T. Dennard
  • Bailey C. McMeans
  • Aaron T. Fisk
Short Note


We provide preliminary carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) stable isotope assessment of the Greenland halibut (Reinhardtius hippoglossoides) diet in Cumberland Sound, with focus on two possible prey sources: pelagic represented by capelin (Mallotus villosus) and epibenthic represented by shrimp (Lebbeus polaris). The δ13C for the Greenland halibut stock indicated a pelagic carbon source in Cumberland Sound while stable isotope mixing models, IsoSource and MixSIR, indicated a 99% dietary composition of capelin relative to the shrimp. The δ15N did not vary across Greenland halibut size ranges and placed them at a fourth trophic position relative to a primary herbivore. This study provides the starting point for more elaborate Cumberland Sound research on the local Greenland halibut feeding ecology by confirming pelagic feeding and establishing relative trophic position as well as identifying stable isotopes as a useful tool for the study of diet in cold water fish species.


Stable isotope Feeding ecology Greenland halibut Cumberland Sound 


  1. Bernstead JP, March JG, Fry B, Ewel KC, Pringle CM (2006) Testing IsoSource: stable isotope analysis of a tropical fishery with diverse organic matter sources. Ecology 87:326–333. doi:10.1890/05-0721 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Birkely SR, Gullicksen B (2003) Feeding ecology of five shrimp species (Decapoda, Caridea) from an Arctic fjord (Isfjorden, Svalbard), with emphasis on Sclerocrangon boreas (Phipps, 1774). Crustaceana 76:699–715. doi:10.1163/156854003322381513 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bowering WR, Lilly G (1992) Greenland halibut (Rienhardtius hippoglossoides) off southern Labrador and northeastern Newfoundland (northwest Atlantic) feed primarily on capelin (Mallotus villlosus). Neth J Sea Res 29:211–222. doi:10.1016/0077-7579(92)90021-6 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. de Groot SJ (1970) Some notes on an ambivalent behaviour of the Greenland halibut Reinhardtius hippoglossoides (Walb.) Pisces: Pleuronectiformes. J Fish Biol 2:275–279. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8649.1970.tb03285.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. DeNiro MJ, Epstein S (1978) Influence of diet on distribution of carbon stable isotopes in animals. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 42:495–506. doi:10.1016/0016-7037(78)90199-0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. DeNiro MJ, Epstein S (1981) Influence of diet on distribution of nitrogen stable isotopes in animals. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 45:341–351. doi:10.1016/0016-7037(81)90244-1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Fisk AT, Tittlemier SA, Pranschke JL, Norstom RJ (2002) Using anthropogenic contaminants and stable isotopes to assess the feeding ecology of Greenland sharks. Ecology 83:2162–2172Google Scholar
  8. France RL (1995) Carbon-13 enrichment in benthic compared to planktonic algae: foodweb implications. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 124:307–312. doi:10.3354/meps124307 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. González C, Paz X, Román E, Hermida M (2006) Feeding habits of fish species distributed on the Grand Bank (NAFO Divisions 3NO, 2002-2005. NAFO Sci Counc Res Doc 06/31:N5251Google Scholar
  10. Hirche HJ (1997) Life cycle of the copepod Calanus hyperboreas in the Greenland Sea. Mar Biol (Berl) 128:607–618CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hobson KA, Welch HE (1992) Determination of trophic relationships within a high Arctic Mar food web using stable-isotope analysis. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 84:9–18. doi:10.3354/meps084009 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hobson KA, Ambrose WG Jr, Renaud PE (1995) Sources of primary production, benthic-pelagic coupling, and trophic relationships within the Northeast Water Polynya: insights from δ15N and δ13C analysis. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 128:1–10. doi:10.3354/meps128001 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hobson KA, Fisk A, Karnovsky N, Holst M, Gagnon JM, Fortier M (2002) A stable isotope (δ13C, δ15 N) model for the North Water food web: implications for evaluating trophodynamics and the flow of energy and contaminants. Deep Sea Res Part II Top Stud Oceanogr 49:5131–5150. doi:10.1016/S0967-0645(02)00182-0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. MacNeil MA, Drouillard KG, Fisk AT (2006) Variable uptake and elimination of stable nitrogen isotopes between tissues in fish. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 63:345–353. doi:10.1139/f05-219 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Michener RH, Schell DM (1994) Stable isotope ratios as tracers in marine and aquatic food webs. In: Lajtha K, Michener RH (eds) Stable isotopes in ecology and environmental science. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford, p 436Google Scholar
  16. Moore JW, Semmens BX (2008) Incorporating uncertainty and prior information in stable isotope mixing models. Ecol Lett 11:470–480. doi:10.1111/j.1461-0248.2008.01163.x PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. O’Driscoll RL, Parsons MJD, Rose GA (2001) Feeding of capeling (Mallotus villosus) in Newfoundland waters. Sarsia 86:165–176Google Scholar
  18. Pedersen SA, Riget F (1993) Feeding habits of redfish (Sebastes spp.) and Greenland halibut (Reinhardtius hippoglossoides) in West Greenland waters. ICES J Mar Sci 50:445–459. doi:10.1006/jmsc.1993.1048 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Phillips DL, Gregg JW (2003) Source portioning using stable isotopes: coping with too many sources. Oecologia 136:261–269. doi:10.1007/s00442-003-1218-3 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Post DM (2002) Using stable isotopes to estimate trophic position: models, methods, and assumptions. Ecology 83:703–718CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Post DM, Layman CA, Arrington DA, Takimoto G, Quattrochi J, Montana CG (2007) Getting to the fat of the matter: models, methods and assumptions for dealing with lipids in stable isotopes analyses. Oecologia 152:179–189. doi:10.1007/s00442-006-0630-x PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Rodríguez-Marin E, De Cárdenas E, Paz J (1997) Feeding of the Greenland halibut (Reinhardtius hippoglossoides) in 3 LMNO NARO regulatory area divisions (Northwest Atlantic), 1991-4. NAFO Sci Counc Res Doc 97(31):N2869Google Scholar
  23. R Development Core Team (2008) R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria. ISBN 3-900051-070. http://www.R-project.org
  24. Sólmundsson J (1993) Food and feeding habits of Greenland halibut (Reinhardtius hippoglossoides) in Icelandic waters. In: Nordic workshop on predation processes and predation models. Copenhagen, Denmark. Nordic Council of Ministers, vol 572, pp 79–92Google Scholar
  25. Templeman W (1948) The life history of capelin (Mallotus villosus O.F. Müller) in Newfoundland waters. Bulletin of the Newfoundland Government Laboratory Research No. 17Google Scholar
  26. Treble MA (2008) Cumberland Sound Greenland halibut (Turbot) inshore fishery. Canadian Science Advisory Report 2008/040Google Scholar
  27. Wiborg KF (1963) Some observations on the Iceland scallop Chlamys islandica (Müller) in Norwegian waters. Fiskeriderktoratets Skrifter Serie Havundersogelser 13:38–53Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan T. Dennard
    • 1
  • Bailey C. McMeans
    • 1
  • Aaron T. Fisk
    • 1
  1. 1.Great Lakes Institute for Environmental ResearchUniversity of WindsorWindsorCanada

Personalised recommendations