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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 617-618:323-340 (2019)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12724

First representation of the trophic structure and functioning of the Portuguese continental shelf ecosystem: insights into the role of sardine

T. Veiga-Malta1,9,*, D. Szalaj1,2, M. M. Angélico1, M. Azevedo1, I. Farias1, S. Garrido1,2, S. Lourenço1,3, A. Marçalo4,5, V. Marques1, A. Moreno1, P. B. Oliveira1, V. H. Paiva6, N. Prista1,10, C. Silva1, L. Sobrinho-Gonçalves1, J. Vingada7,8, A. Silva1

1Instituto Português do Mar e da Atmosfera (IPMA), I.P. Av. Brasília, 6, 1449-006 Lisboa, Portugal
2Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre (MARE), Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade de Lisboa, Campo Grande, 1749-016 Lisboa, Portugal
3Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research (CIIMAR), Terminal de Cruzeiros do Porto de Leixões, Porto Portugal and Centro de Maricultura da Calheta, Divisão de Serviços de Investigação da Direção Regional das Pescas e Aquacultura da RAM, Av. D. Manuel I, nº 7, 9370-145 Calheta, Portugal
4Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies (CESAM), Universidade de Aveiro, Campus Universitário de Santiago, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
5Centre of Marine Science (CCMAR), University of the Algarve Campus de Gambelas, 8005-139 Faro, Portugal
6Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre (MARE), Department of Life Sciences, University of Coimbra, Rua Dom Francisco de Lemos, 3030-789 Coimbra, Portugal
7Sociedade Portuguesa de Vida Selvagem, Universidade do Minho, Department of Biology, 4710-057 Braga, Portugal
8Departament of Biology and CESAM, Universidade do Minho, 4710-057 Braga, Portugal
9Present address: DTU Aqua, National Institute of Aquatic Resources, North Sea Science Park, 9850 Hirtshals, Denmark
10Present address: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Aquatic Resources (SLU Aqua), Institute of Marine Research, Turistgatan 5, 453 30 Lysekil, Sweden
*Corresponding author:
Advance View was available online January 15, 2018

ABSTRACT: In this study, we analysed the structure and functioning of the Portuguese continental shelf ecosystem and investigated the role of sardine Sardina pilchardus using the Ecopath mass-balance approach. An Ecopath model was configured to represent the continental shelf waters in the period 2006-2009. The model showed that biomass was concentrated in low and intermediate trophic levels as in other upwelling areas. Several low- and medium-trophic-level groups were identified as dominant groups in the ecosystem (e.g. zooplankton, macrozoobenthos, sardine, chub mackerel Scomber colias, and demersal and benthopelagic invertivorous fish). Furthermore, low-trophic-level groups were responsible for the main energy flows, and overall higher impact on the ecosystem, emphasizing the importance of bottom-up control of the ecosystem structure. Our results are relevant to understand structure and functioning of this ecosystem and constitute an important step towards an ecosystem approach to fisheries management in the study area.


KEY WORDS: Sardine · Small pelagic fish · Upwelling ecosystem · Trophic interaction · Ecopath


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Cite this article as: Veiga-Malta T, Szalaj D, Angélico MM, Azevedo M and others (2019) First representation of the trophic structure and functioning of the Portuguese continental shelf ecosystem: insights into the role of sardine. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 617-618:323-340. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12724

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