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Do protozoa contribute significantly to the diet of larval fish in the Irish Sea?
de Figueiredo, G.M.; Nash, R.D.M.; Montagnes, D.J.S. (2007). Do protozoa contribute significantly to the diet of larval fish in the Irish Sea? J. Mar. Biol. Ass. U.K. 87(4): 843-850
In: Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. Cambridge University Press/Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom: Cambridge. ISSN 0025-3154, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Diets; Digestive tract; Feeding; Prey; Taxonomy; Pleuronectiformes [WoRMS]; Protozoa [WoRMS]; Marine

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  • de Figueiredo, G.M.
  • Nash, R.D.M.
  • Montagnes, D.J.S.

    This study evaluates the role of protozoa in larval fish feeding by describing protozoa in larval fish diets and testing the hypothesis that, in the Irish Sea, larval fish feed on protozoan prey at rates that potentially sustain their food requirements. Gut contents of 11 taxonomic groups of larval fish were examined, and protist prey occurred in the diet of all of them. Protozoan prey were identified, which provided an insight into their trophic role. Most of the protozoan prey were autotrophic or mixotrophic. In general, larval fish diets were constant over the spring/summer period, regardless of prey availability in the field and the composition of larval fish assemblage (taxonomy and size). A laboratory experiment on ingestion rates of flounder larvae as a function of ciliates concentration was conducted. Combined laboratory and field data showed that, in the Irish Sea, it is unlikely that ciliates are often the primary food source of flounder larvae, and, by implication, other larval fish as well. However, ciliates and other protozoa could be a substantial component of the larval fish diet, and they may potentially prevent food limitation.

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