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Feeding ecology of pelagic nekton

Element 1

Trophic ecology of the benthopelagic community of the Sedlo seamount in the southern MAR-ECO sub-area. (Part of the EU funded OASIS project). Principal Investigator: Bernd Christiansen (Germany)

Element 2

Trophic ecology and food-webs of fish and cephalopods of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Principal Investigator: Aage Hoines (Norway).


1. Classify nekton species according to feeding pattern.
2. Identify intraspecific variation, e.g. changes in diet and feeding pattern with
3. Identify major interspecific linkages (predator-prey relationships).
4. Derive conceptual food-web models that can be linked to similar models for
zooplankton and epibenthos.
5. Compare interspecific patterns and trophic transfer processes between subareas
of the MAR-ECO area.
6. Compare patterns observed on the MAR with those in continental slope waters
based on previously collected data.


  • The main prey resources of the deep scattering layer fish and cephalopods are vertically migrating crustacean plankton and micronekton.
  • The main prey of the benthopelagic and benthic fish and cephalopods are pelagic and benthopelagic plankton and nekton.
  • For non-piscivorous nekton, crustaceans are the more significant prey taxon, and only few species are adapted to feeding on e.g. gelatinous prey organisms.
  • The main processes providing these patterns are the vertical migration of prey species, and the concentration of food organisms on slopes and near seamounts.
  • Observed feeding patterns are the same in all sub-areas, and similar to those observed on adjacent continental slopes.
  • NOTE: Element 1 have more specific hypotheses concerning seamount processes (See OASIS website).


Element 1: Focused studies on the Sedlo seamount and adjacent waters. Material from OASIS cruises only.
Element 2: Focused studies in the three MAR-ECO sub-areas, but also opportunistic sampling in other areas.


o Traditional stomach content analyses (but using modern sampling methods).
o Biochemical analyses (fatty acid biomarkers, 15N, 13C, 234Th, ETS activity, DNA analyses)
o Comparative analyses of feeding modes based on morphological/anatomical features and behaviour.
o Multivariate analyses, diet overlap indices.
o ECOPATH model


Preparation of field work: 2002-2003, Sampling at sea: 2003-2005, Analysis and dissemination: 2005-2008.


Element 1: OASIS partners, e.g. Bernd Christiansen, Gui Menezes, Telmo Morato Gomes (Portugal) a.o.
Element 2: Tracey Sutton (USA), O.A. Bergstad, ge Hines, Tonje Castberg, Agnes Gundersen, Ruth Anne Sandaa (Norway), Franz Uiblein (Austria), Andrey Dolgov (Russia).

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