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Food utilisation of pelagic mysids, Mysis mixta and M. relicta, during their growing season in the northern Baltic Sea
Viherluoto, M.; Kuosa, H.; Flinkman, J.; Viitasalo, M. (2000). Food utilisation of pelagic mysids, Mysis mixta and M. relicta, during their growing season in the northern Baltic Sea. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 136(3): 553-559. 10.1007/s002270050715
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Viherluoto, M.
  • Kuosa, H.
  • Flinkman, J.
  • Viitasalo, M.

    The dietary habits of the pelagic mysid Mysismixta were studied during its growing season at an open sea location in the Gulf of Finland, the northern Baltic Sea. Stomach samples were taken twice a month from June to September 1997. The most abundant phytoplankton taxa in the stomachs were diatoms and dinoflagellates, and copepods and cladocerans were the most abundant zooplankton identified. A clear change was found in the diets during the study period. Small mysids (3 to 6?mm) fed on sedimented phytoplankton in the early summer (90% benthic particles in June) but shifted gradually to a more pelagic and carnivorous diet (>40% pelagic particles, consisting of ca. 60% zooplankton in September). Seasonal changes in mysid capture ability as well as food availability were suggested to affect the diet composition of mysids during their growth. The ratio of pelagic and benthic food particles could – irrespective of the season – be explained by mysid size, whereas the zooplankton:phytoplankton ratio was better explained by season. The stomach analysis suggests that the mysids needed to attain a threshold size of 8 to 11?mm to initiate feeding on the more evasive copepods. Mysids also started to grow faster at the same time as the proportion of copepods increased in the diet, which suggests that copepods are an important energy source for M. mixta in late summer. Finally, a comparison was made between the M. mixta diet and that of the less abundant M. relicta. The diets of the two pelagic mysid species overlapped by 75% (Schoener's index). The main difference was due to M. mixta eating more zooplankton and pelagic material than M. relicta.

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