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Research article2011Peer reviewedOpen access

Altered feeding habits and strategies of a benthic forage fish (Fundulus heteroclitus) in chronically polluted tidal salt marshes

Goto, Daisuke; Wallace, William G.


Responses in feeding ecology of a benthic forage fish, mummichogs (Fundulus heteroclitus), to altered prey resources were investigated in chronically polluted salt marshes (the Arthur Kill-AK, New York, USA). The diet niche breadth of the AK populations of mummichogs was significantly lower than that of the reference population, reflecting reduced benthic macroinfaunal species diversity. Most of the AK populations also had 2-3 times less food in their gut than the reference population. This disparity in gut fullness among the populations appeared to be partly due to ingested prey size shifts; some of the AK populations ingested fewer large prey than the reference population. Furthermore, benthic assemblages were strongly associated with sediment-associated mercury; gut fullness of the AK populations also significantly decreased with increasing mercury body burdens. These results indicate that chronic pollution may have directly (chemical bioaccumulation) and indirectly (reduced prey availability) altered the feeding ecology of mummichogs. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Trophic relationships; Benthic environment; Feeding strategy; Pollution effects; Diet analysis; Salt marshes; The Hudson River

Published in

Marine Environmental Research
2011, Volume: 72, number: 1-2, pages: 75-88

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Environmental Sciences

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