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Castellammare del Golfo, Italy

Fanelli E.,CSIC - Institute of Marine Sciences | Badalamenti F.,BCNR IAMC | D'anna G.,BCNR IAMC | Pipitone C.,BCNR IAMC | Romano C.,BCNR IAMC
Marine and Freshwater Research | Year: 2010

Because trawling disturbs benthic organisms, it could affect the diet of benthic-feeding fish with implications for food-web dynamics. The present study assessed the effects of commercial trawling on the trophodynamics and diet of pandora, Pagellus erythrinus, by comparing its stomach contents and stable-isotope (Δ15N and 13C) composition in two trawled and two untrawled gulfs in northern Sicily (central Mediterranean). Fish were collected on muddy bottoms at 50100-m depth. Higher abundance and biomass and a slightly larger mean body length were found in the untrawled gulfs. The feeding habits were similar although more selective in the untrawled gulfs. The diet was mainly composed of decapod crustaceans (especially the brachyuran crab Goneplax rhomboides) and of polychaetes. The trophic level of pandora, estimated by its Δ15N values, was higher in the untrawled gulfs. No clear trend between trawled and untrawled gulfs was found for the source of carbon in the diet Δ(13C). The diet of a benthic feeder such as pandora may be used as an indirect indicator of trawling disturbance, as long as stomach contents and stable-isotope analysis are used jointly to assess the diet and trophodynamics of a species. © 2010 CSIRO. Source

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