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Spatial and ontogenetic variations in sardine feeding conditions in the Bay of Biscay through fatty acid composition

Abstract : Food characteristics are amongst the most influential factors determining the fish life history traits as quantitative and qualitative changes in individuals' diet can lead to a decline in the energy allocated to their growth, and hence influence natural populations' characteristics. The size-at-age and weight of European sardines (Sardina pilchardus) in the Bay of Biscay (BoB) have decreased substantially over the last decade, especially for the youngest age classes, and the factors underlying such changes have not yet been identified. We therefore analysed the fatty acid (FA) composition in the neutral (NL) and polar (PL) lipids in samples collected across the BoB to determine whether the diet of sardines changes with their ages. We found that the total FA contents in both lipid fractions varied mainly with the sampling locations and age. Indeed, sardines aged 1 and 2 years living in South BoB had particularly high contents in FA specific to non-diatom phytoplankton, while older sardines living in the Northern part had higher total FA content and more FA specific to copepods. These differences probably resulted from differences in prey availability and to a lesser extend a change in feeding behaviour with age. The strong dependence of younger sardines’ diet to phytoplankton in spring suggests that changes in primary production may explain their decline in size-at-age. Finally, NL clearly reflect finest feeding variations in comparison to PL imprinted by diet variations at longer time scale. Future studies should consider separately NL and PL fractions.
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https://hal.univ-brest.fr/hal-03485223
Contributor : Patricia Calloch Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Friday, December 17, 2021 - 10:30:05 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, January 11, 2022 - 2:04:02 PM

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Mathilde Bertrand, Pablo Brosset, Philippe Soudant, Christophe Lebigre. Spatial and ontogenetic variations in sardine feeding conditions in the Bay of Biscay through fatty acid composition. Marine Environmental Research, Elsevier science, 2022, 173, pp.105514. ⟨10.1016/j.marenvres.2021.105514⟩. ⟨hal-03485223⟩

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