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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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Prey size has a large effect on planktivore energetics and optimal body size, whereas temperature and prey biomass concentration play a smaller role.
Illustration: Tom Langbehn.

Ljungström G, Claireaux M, Fiksen Ø, Jørgensen C


Body size adaptions under climate change: zooplankton community more important than temperature or food abundance in model of a zooplanktivorous fish


Planktivorous fishes are the wasp-waist link between zooplankton and species higher in the marine food chain. With a model for bioenergetics and foraging behaviour, Ljungstöm and co-authors show that the two most common proxies used in ecological models, temperature and food abundance, cannot predict energetics, growth, and body size differences in herring. Rather, it is the zooplankton community, particularly zooplankton size, that determines current body size differences between herring populations. Thus, global change effects on zooplankton communities may override temperature effects for planktivorous fishes, with potentially large consequences for energy flows in marine systems. This highlights the importance of accounting for prey accessibility when predicting global change effects for planktivorous fishes.


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