Istituto di Scienze Marine     
La Mesa M., Dalu M., Vacchi M. Trophic ecology of the emerald notothen Trematomus bernacchii (Pisces, Nototheniidae) from Terra Nova Bay, Ross Sea, Antarctica. In: Polar Biology, vol. 27 (11) pp. 721 - 728. SPRINGER, 2004.
The trophic ecology of the emerald notothen Trematomus bernacchii was investigated using a sample of 284 specimens collected in the coastal waters of Terra Nova Bay (Ross Sea) during the summer season 1990-1991. The stomach-content analysis provided data on feeding habits and trophic niche breadth. Overall, 72 taxa of food items were identified; the most important as prey were infaunal and epifaunal polychaetes, amphipods and molluscs. Food of secondary importance comprised isopods, pycnogonids, fish and fish eggs. Several other taxa, such as euphausiids, mysids, decapods, echinoids, holothurians, priapulids and thaliaceans constituted food eaten in very small amounts and only occasionally. On the basis of their diet, T. bernacchii can be considered generalized feeders, with a wide niche breadth composed almost exclusively of benthic organisms. A cluster analysis was conducted to compare stomach-content data of subsamples selected on the basis of fish size and sampling depth, aiming to determine diet diversity and niche breadth, as well as factors involved in reducing intraspecific competition for food resources. Diet was different for fish sampled in shallow (less than or equal to90 m depth) and deeper waters (>90 m depth): while the first group fed mostly on bivalves (Adamussium colbecki) and amphipods, the latter preferred infaunal-epifaunal polychaetes. Conversely, fish size did not contribute significantly to diet diversification. According to our data and published data on feeding behaviour and sensory ecology, we conclude that in this species the intraspecific competition for food is reduced, either through habitat heterogeneity or different foraging strategies.
DOI: 10.1007/s00300-004-0645-x
Subject McMurdo Sound
Weddell Sea
graphical analysis
feeding strategy

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