Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2024-102
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2024-102
17 Jun 2024
 | 17 Jun 2024
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

Fish functional groups of the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans

Murray S. A. Thompson, Izaskun Preciado, Federico Maioli, Valerio Bartolino, Andrea Belgrano, Michele Casini, Pierre Cresson, Elena Eriksen, Gema Hernandez-Milian, Ingibjörg G. Jónsdóttir, Stefan Neuenfeldt, John F. Pinnegar, Stefán Ragnarsson, Sabine Schueckel, Ulrike Schueckel, Brian E. Smith, María Á. Torres, Thomas J. Webb, and Christopher P. Lynam

Abstract. International efforts to assess the status of marine ecosystems have been hampered by insufficient observations of food web interactions across many species, their various life stages, and geographic ranges. Hence, we collated data from multiple databases of fish stomach contents from samples taken across the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans containing 944,129 stomach samples from larvae to adults, with 14,196 unique interactions between 227 predator species and 2158 prey taxa. We use these data to develop a data-driven, reproducible approach to classifying broad functional feeding guilds and then apply these to fish survey data from the Northeast Atlantic shelf seas to reveal spatial and temporal changes in ecosystem structure and functioning. In doing so, we construct predator-prey body size scaling models to predict the biomass of prey functional groups, e.g., zooplankton, benthos, and fish, for different predator species. These predictions provide empirical estimates of species- and size-specific feeding traits of fish, such as predator-prey mass ratios, individual prey mass, and the biomass contribution of different prey to predator diets. The functional groupings and feeding traits provided here help to further resolve our understanding of interactions within marine food webs and support the use of trait-based indicators in biodiversity assessments. The data used and predictions generated in this study are published on the Cefas Data Hub at: https://doi.org/10.14466/CefasDataHub.149 (Thompson et al., 2024).

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Murray S. A. Thompson, Izaskun Preciado, Federico Maioli, Valerio Bartolino, Andrea Belgrano, Michele Casini, Pierre Cresson, Elena Eriksen, Gema Hernandez-Milian, Ingibjörg G. Jónsdóttir, Stefan Neuenfeldt, John F. Pinnegar, Stefán Ragnarsson, Sabine Schueckel, Ulrike Schueckel, Brian E. Smith, María Á. Torres, Thomas J. Webb, and Christopher P. Lynam

Status: open (until 15 Aug 2024)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
Murray S. A. Thompson, Izaskun Preciado, Federico Maioli, Valerio Bartolino, Andrea Belgrano, Michele Casini, Pierre Cresson, Elena Eriksen, Gema Hernandez-Milian, Ingibjörg G. Jónsdóttir, Stefan Neuenfeldt, John F. Pinnegar, Stefán Ragnarsson, Sabine Schueckel, Ulrike Schueckel, Brian E. Smith, María Á. Torres, Thomas J. Webb, and Christopher P. Lynam

Data sets

Modelled and observed fish feeding traits for the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans (1836-2020) and population estimates of fish with different feeding traits from Northeast Atlantic scientific trawl surveys (1997-2020) Murray S. A. Thompson, Izaskun Preciado, Federico Maioli, Valerio Bartolino, Andrea Belgrano, Michele Casini, Pierre Cresson, Elena Eriksen, Gema Hernandez-Milian, Ingibjörg G. Jónsdóttir, Stefan Neuenfeldt, John K. Pinnegar, Stefán Ragnarsson, Sabine Schückel, Ulrike Schückel, Brian E. Smith, María Ángeles Torres, Thomas J. Webb, and Christopher P. Lynam https://doi.org/10.14466/CefasDataHub.149

Model code and software

fish-feeding-traits-glmm Murray S. A. Thompson https://github.com/MurraySAThompson/fish-feeding-traits-glmm

Murray S. A. Thompson, Izaskun Preciado, Federico Maioli, Valerio Bartolino, Andrea Belgrano, Michele Casini, Pierre Cresson, Elena Eriksen, Gema Hernandez-Milian, Ingibjörg G. Jónsdóttir, Stefan Neuenfeldt, John F. Pinnegar, Stefán Ragnarsson, Sabine Schueckel, Ulrike Schueckel, Brian E. Smith, María Á. Torres, Thomas J. Webb, and Christopher P. Lynam

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Short summary
We collated data from multiple fish stomach content databases to improve understanding of marine food web interactions for the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. These data were used to categorise fish into feeding guilds and applied to understand change in fish populations observed in scientific trawl surveys. This revealed spatially extensive temporal change in marine ecosystem structure and functioning. Our study provides evidence supporting a candidate food web indicator for the OSPAR Area.
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