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Research article2012Peer reviewedOpen access

Assessing diet of the non-indigenous predatory cladoceran Cercopagis pengoi using stable isotopes

Holliland, Per B.; Holmborn, Towe; Gorokhova, Elena


In the Baltic Sea, the predatory cladoceran Cercopagis pengoi is a non-indigenous species that has potential to compete for mesozooplankton with pelagic zooplanktivorous fish. To understand the extent of diet overlap with these fishes in a coastal area of the northern Baltic proper, we studied the feeding of C. pengoi using stable C-13 and N-15 isotope signatures of the predator and possible prey. Feasible combinations of sources were estimated in two ways: (i) with the IsoSource mixing model, and (ii) temporal-tracking analysis. Further, contribution of different prey was related to ambient zooplankton composition to gauge selectivity. The modelling results indicate that C. pengoi is an opportunistic generalist predator with a positive selection towards older copepodites (CIVVI) of Acartia spp. and Eurytemora affinis, which also have the greatest contribution to its diet. Positive selection towards podonid Cladocera is also likely. In contrast, evidence for extensive feeding on microzooplankton was inconclusive, and bosminids were not found to be an important prey in the zooplankton assemblages studied. As the derived diet of C. pengoi overlaps greatly with that of zooplanktivorous fish, food competition between these zooplanktivores is possible.


mixing models; temporal-tracking analysis; selectivity; foodweb interactions; zooplankton

Published in

Journal of Plankton Research
2012, Volume: 34, number: 5, pages: 376-387

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources

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