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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 469:215-222 (2012)  -  DOI:

Food habits of Pacific cod and walleye pollock in the northern Gulf of Alaska

Daniel Urban*

National Marine Fisheries Service, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, Kodiak Laboratory, 301 Research Court, Kodiak, Alaska 99615, USA

ABSTRACT: Seasonal variations in the diets of Pacific cod Gadus macrocephalus and walleye pollock Theragra chalcogramma were examined from fish collected during 5 sampling periods from August 1998 to June 1999 in the Kodiak Island area in the Gulf of Alaska. Both species were shown to be generalist predators, eating a wide variety of fish and invertebrates. Pollock, which are limited to pelagic prey, can be considered more specialized than cod. Cod consumed 78 prey items, and pollock consumed 45 prey items, with 28 items shared by both species. Individual pollock, however, typically concentrated on a single prey item, while individual cod stomachs contained a wider variety of prey. The principal prey of Pacific cod was Tanner crab Chionoecetes bairdi, comprising >28% of the cod diet by weight. The most common prey item for walleye pollock was the euphausiid Thysanoessa. Over the 5 sampling periods, the prey evenness and niche width occupied by the 2 species were similar, but seasonal differences were evident.

KEY WORDS: Pacific cod · Ealleye pollock · Tanner crab · Northern shrimp · predator/prey · Gulf of Alaska

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Cite this article as: Urban D (2012) Food habits of Pacific cod and walleye pollock in the northern Gulf of Alaska. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 469:215-222.

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