Diet of sardine (Sardinops sagax) in the northern Humboldt Current system and comparison with the diets of clupeoids in this and other eastern boundary upwelling systems

Pepe Espinoza, Arnaud Bertrand, Carl D. van der Lingen, Susana Garrido, Blanca Rojas de Mendiola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations

Abstract

Sardines are one of the main small pelagic fish resources in eastern boundary upwelling systems (EBUS) where they play an important ecological role both as a predator of plankton and as prey of top predators. Sardine trophodynamics have been relatively well studied in three of the EBUS (the Benguela, California and Canary upwelling systems) but not in the Humboldt Current system. In this paper we describe the diet of sardine Sardinops sagax in the northern Humboldt Current system (NHCS) off Peru, using an analytical method which assesses relative dietary importance in terms of estimated prey carbon content. We assessed sardine diet by examining a total of 555 stomachs collected during six surveys conducted off Peru during the period 1996-1998, and compare our results with the diet of anchoveta Engraulis ringens off Peru and with the diets of sardines from the southern Benguela (also S. sagax) and the northern Canary (Sardina pilchardus) upwelling systems. The diet of sardine off Peru is based primarily on zooplankton, similar to that observed for anchoveta but with several important differences. Firstly, sardine feed on smaller zooplankton than do anchoveta, with sardine diet consisting of smaller copepods and fewer euphausiids than anchoveta diet. Secondly, whilst phytoplankton represents <2% of sardine dietary carbon, this fraction is dominated by dinoflagellates, whereas diatoms are the dominant phytoplankton consumed by anchoveta. Hence, trophic competition between sardine and anchovy in the northern Humboldt Current system is minimized by their partitioning of the zooplankton food resource based on prey size, as has been reported in other systems. Whereas sardine in the NHCS feed on smaller zooplankton than do anchovy in that system, sardine in the NHCS forage on larger prey and obtain a substantial portion of their dietary carbon from euphausiids compared to sardine from the northern Canary and southern Benguela Current systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-250
Number of pages9
JournalProgress in Oceanography
Volume83
Issue number1-4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2009

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Diet of sardine (Sardinops sagax) in the northern Humboldt Current system and comparison with the diets of clupeoids in this and other eastern boundary upwelling systems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this