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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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Fluid-preserved copper rockfish Sebastes caurinus of the University of Washington Burke Museum Fish Collection.
Photo by: K. P. Maslenikov

Welicky RL, Feddern ML, Rolfe T, Leazer K, Moosmiller A, Fiorenza EA, Maslenikov KP, Tornabene L, Holtgrieve GW, Wood CL

Reconstructing trophic position over the past century for five Puget Sound fish species

A lot has changed for ocean ecosystems in the past century. Have generations of change influenced fish foraging ecology? To answer this question, we reconstructed the trophic position of 5 commercially important fishes (Pacific hake Merluccius productus, walleye pollock Gadus chalcogrammus, copper rockfish Sebastes caurinus, English sole Parophrys vetulus, and Pacific herring Clupea pallasii) over the past century by performing compound-specific stable isotope analysis on fish specimens from natural history collections. The only species whose trophic position changed was copper rockfish, suggesting that some species may be more trophically resilient than expected. Copper rockfish increased in trophic position, possibly due to diet switching and declining prey quality. Efforts should be made to conserve the trophic interactions of species experiencing change.


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