Marine Biology

, Volume 160, Issue 2, pp 465–478 | Cite as

Functional responses of juvenile herring and sprat in relation to different prey types

  • R. BrachvogelEmail author
  • L. Meskendahl
  • J.-P. Herrmann
  • A. Temming
Original Paper


The relationship between particulate-feeding rates and prey concentrations (functional response) of juvenile herring and sprat (5–9 cm total length) was investigated in controlled feeding experiments monitored by an underwater camera system. A special tank system was developed allowing the regulation and quantification of low prey concentrations (1–160 L−1). Non-evasive Artemia nauplii was used as prey to estimate the maximum biting rate of both predators. In contrast, Acartia tonsa with a high escape ability was used as a realistic prey type. Herring and sprat showed a type II functional response for both prey types. Nonlinear mixed effects model revealed no significant difference between the functional responses of both predators, except that herring showed significantly higher biting rates than sprat at A. tonsa concentrations below ~40 L−1. For both predators feeding rates were significantly higher with Artemia nauplii than with A. tonsa. Video analysis indicated that sprat, unlike herring, is an obligate particulate-feeder.


Functional Response Prey Item Prey Type Handling Time Akaike Information Criterion 
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.



The authors gratefully acknowledge the help of J. Lütke and S. Stäcker in catching fish and maintaining them in the aquarium. Furthermore, we like to thank all trainees in helping to perform the experiments. Our thanks also go to two anonymous referees provided helpful comments that improved the manuscript. Funding of this study was provided in part by the VECTORS (VECTORS of Change in Oceans and Seas Marine Life, Impact on Economic Sectors) Project.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Brachvogel
    • 1
    Email author
  • L. Meskendahl
    • 1
  • J.-P. Herrmann
    • 1
  • A. Temming
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Hydrobiology and Fisheries ScienceUniversity of HamburgHamburgGermany

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