Hydrobiologia

, Volume 540, Issue 1–3, pp 225–235

The predation impact of juvenile herring Clupea harengusand sprat Sprattus sprattus on estuarine zooplankton

Primary Research Paper

Abstract

The consumption of estuarine copepods by juvenile herring and sprat during estuarine residency was estimated using fish biomass data and daily rations calculated from two models of feeding in fish: a bioenergetic model and a gastric evacuation model. The bioenergetic model predicted daily rations that were, on average, three times higher than those estimated by a model based on field records of stomach contents. The biomass of herring and sprat in the estuary was negatively correlated with the daily ration suggesting that the clupeid fish populations were resource-limited. Copepod production decreased towards the winter and peaked in spring and summer. The relative importance of predation changed seasonally in function of the migration pattern of herring and sprat. In the spring and the summer, in situ production of␣copepod biomass was higher than the in situ consumption by fish. During the fall and the winter, consumption exceeded production. This suggests that top–down control exerted by marine pelagic fish may be an important force structuring estuarine copepod populations.

Keywords

top–down control predation consumption production herring sprat calanoid copepods estuary Eurytemora affinis Acartia tonsa 

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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Aquatic EcologyKatholieke Universiteit LeuvenLeuven
  2. 2.Laboratoire d’Ecologie des Hydrosystèmes (LEH)Université Paul SabatierToulouse Cedex 4France
  3. 3.Centre for Estuarine and Marine EcologyAC YersekeThe Netherlands

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