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https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2020-96
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2020-96
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  13 Jul 2020

13 Jul 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

Diets of the Barents Sea cod from the 1930s to the present day

Bryony L. Townhill1, Rebecca E. Holt2, Bjarte Bogstad3, Joël M. Durant2, John K. Pinnegar1,4, Andrey V. Dolgov5,6,7, Natalia A. Yaragina5, Edda Johannesen3, and Geir Ottersen2,3 Bryony L. Townhill et al.
  • 1Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), Pakefield Road, Lowestoft, Suffolk, NR33 0HT, UK
  • 2Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis, Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1066 Blindern, 0316 Oslo, Norway
  • 3Institute of Marine Research, P.O. Box 1870 Nordnes, 5817 Bergen, Norway
  • 4Collaborative Centre for Sustainable Use of the Seas (CCSUS), University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 TJ, UK
  • 5Polar branch of the Federal State Budget Scientific Institution “Russian Federal Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography” (VNIRO, formerly PINRO), 6, Academician Knipovich Street, Murmansk 183038, Russia
  • 6Federal State Educational Institution of Higher Education “Murmansk State Technical University”, 13, Sportivnaya Street, Murmansk, 183010, Russia
  • 7Tomsk State University, 36, Lenin Avenue, 634050 Tomsk, Russia

Abstract. A new dataset on the diet of Atlantic cod in the Barents Sea from the 1930s to the present day has been compiled, to produce one of the largest fish diet datasets available globally. Atlantic cod is one of the most ecologically and commercially important fish species in the North Atlantic. The stock in the Barents Sea is by far the largest, as a result of both successful management and favourable environmental conditions since the early 2000s. As a top predator, cod plays a key role in the Barents Sea ecosystem. The species has a broad diet consisting mainly of crustaceans and teleost fish, and both the amount and type of prey vary in space and time. The data, from Russia, Norway and the United Kingdom, represents quantitative stomach contents records from more than 400,000 fish, and qualitative data from 2.5 million fish. Much of the data is from joint collaborative surveys between Norway and Russia. The sampling was done throughout each year allowing for seasonal, annual and decadal comparisons to be made. Visual analysis shows cod diets have changed considerably from the start of the dataset in the 1930s to the present day. There was a large proportion of herring in the diets in the 1930s, whereas in more recent decades, capelin, invertebrates and other fish dominate. There are also significant interannual asynchronous fluctuations in prey, particularly capelin and euphausiids. Combining these datasets can help us understand how the environment and ecosystems are responding to climatic changes, and what influences the diet and prey switching of cod. Trends in temperature and variability indices can be tested against the occurrence of different prey items, and the effects of fishing pressure on cod and prey stocks on diet composition could be investigated. The dataset will also enable us to improve parametrisation of food web models, and to forecast how Barents Sea fisheries may respond in the future, to management and to climate change. The Russian data is available through joint projects with Polar branch of VNIRO. The UK and Norwegian data (Townhill et al., 2020) is being released with this paper at https://doi.org/10.21335/NMDC-2139169383.

Bryony L. Townhill et al.

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Bryony L. Townhill et al.

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Barents Sea Cod Diet Data Bryony Townhill, Rebecca Holt, Bjarte Bogstad, Joel Durrant, John Pinnegar, Edda Johannesen, and Geir Ottersen https://doi.org/10.21335/NMDC-2139169383

Bryony L. Townhill et al.

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Short summary
A dataset on the diet of Atlantic cod in the Barents Sea from the 1930s to the present day has been compiled, to produce one of the largest fish diet datasets available globally. A top predator, cod plays a key role in the foodweb. The data, from Russia, Norway and the United Kingdom, includes data from 2.5 million fish. Diets have changed considerably from the start of the dataset in the 1930s to the present day. This dataset helps us understand how the environment and ecosystems are respond.
A dataset on the diet of Atlantic cod in the Barents Sea from the 1930s to the present day has...
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