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MEPS
Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 422:23-39 (2011)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps08932

Investigating the coupling between small pelagic fish and marine top predators using data collected from ecosystem-based surveys

G. Certain1,5,*, J. Masse2, O. Van Canneyt3, P. Petitgas2, G. Doremus3, M. B. Santos4, V. Ridoux3

1Norwegian Institute for Nature Research-NINA, 7485 Trondheim, Norway
2IFREMER, Rue de l’Île d’Yeu, BP 21105, 44311 Nantes Cedex 3, France
3Centre de Recherche sur les Mammifères Marins, 5 allée de l’Océan, 17000 La Rochelle, France
4Instituto Español de Oceanografía, Centro Oceanográfico de Vigo, Apdo. 1552, 36200 Vigo, Spain
5Present address: Institute of Marine Research, PO Box 6404, 9294 Tromsø, Norway

ABSTRACT: The present study is a general multivariate analysis of the spatial association between small pelagic fishes and their predators (seabirds, marine mammals and fisheries), using 6 yr (18000 km) of transects surveyed in spring in the Bay of Biscay, France. We describe 4 groups of prey–predator association, with explicit distinction of prey size: (1) terns and anchovies (10 to 15 cm), (2) common dolphins, common murres, sprat and sardine (<20 cm), (3) gannets, horse mackerel and mackerel (15 to 25 cm) and (4) bottlenose dolphin, horse mackerel and mackerel (25 to 40 cm). Our analysis also illustrates the great variability in these associations, with years of strong prey–predator associations followed by years of weak relationships. The analysis allows us to formulate predictions about the structure of the upper-pelagic food web in the Bay of Biscay in spring, and constitutes a good starting point for the analysis of data collected during ecosystem-based surveys in the Bay of Biscay.


KEY WORDS: Marine top predators · Small pelagic fishes · Spatial associations · Temporal variability · Pelagic ecosystem · Bay of Biscay


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Cite this article as: Certain G, Masse J, Van Canneyt O, Petitgas P, Doremus G, Santos MB, Ridoux V (2011) Investigating the coupling between small pelagic fish and marine top predators using data collected from ecosystem-based surveys. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 422:23-39. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps08932

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