MEPS 437:215-228 (2011)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps09275

Diel feeding intensity and daily ration of the sardine Sardina pilchardus

N. Nikolioudakis1,2, I. Palomera3, A. Machias4, S. Somarakis1,*

1Institute of Marine Biological Resources, Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Thalassocosmos, 71003 Heraklion, Crete, Greece
2Department of Biology, University of Crete, 71409 Heraklion, Crete, Greece
3Institute of Marine Science (ICM-CSIC), PasseigMarítim de la Barceloneta, 37−49, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
4Institute of Marine Biological Resources, Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Aghios Kosmas, 16777 Helliniko, Greece

ABSTRACT: The diel variation in feeding intensity and daily ration of the sardine Sardina pilchardus (Walbaum, 1792) was investigated based on 50 pelagic trawl hauls carried out during the period of thermal stratification (July 2007 and July 2008) and mixing (December 2007 and February 2009) in a coastal area of the North Aegean Sea (eastern Mediterranean). Concurrently collected hydrographic (temperature and salinity), plankton (chlorophyll a, microzooplankton and mesozooplankton) and fish parameters (somatic condition, sexual maturity and catch per unit effort of sardine, CPUE) were used to explain seasonal and inter-annual variability in feeding periodicity and daily ration. A piecewise regression fitted to the weight-length data indicated a significant inflexion point at a length of ~100 mm that was used to split the fish sample into adults and juveniles. The stomach fullness index (stomach content mass/fish mass) was strongly dependent on size, and a generalized linear model was used instead to standardize stomach content mass. During summer, sardine fed consistently during daytime with a prominent peak at around sunset. In winter, high feeding rates were recorded in the early night (first 6 h after sunset) but not in the second half of the night. Field estimates of gastric evacuation rate (R) ranged from 0.101 to 0.225 h−1 and were strongly related to temperature (T) (R = 0.075e0.038T, r2 = 0.785). Daily rations were estimated by applying the Elliott-Persson and the Eggers models and varied from 2.02 to 3.67% total weight (TW) in adults and 4.18 to 5.36% TW in juveniles. A significant positive relationship emerged when daily ration was regressed against the ratio of mesozooplankton biomass to sardine CPUE, implying a density-dependent rate of food consumption.


KEY WORDS: Daily ration · Feeding periodicity · Sardine · Sardina pilchardus · Mediterranean Sea · Aegean Sea


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Cite this article as: Nikolioudakis N, Palomera I, Machias A, Somarakis S (2011) Diel feeding intensity and daily ration of the sardine Sardina pilchardus. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 437:215-228. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps09275

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