The trophic dynamics of 50 finfish and 2 squid species on the northeast US continental shelf
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The trophic dynamics of 50 finfish and 2 squid species on the northeast US continental shelf

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    "This document describes the feeding habits of 50 fish and 2 squid species inhabiting the Northeast US (NEUS) continental shelf ecosystem and provides a current context for the Northeast Fisheries Science Center's Food Web Dynamics Program (FWDP). These descriptions are based on the examination of over 510,000 stomachs from over 150 predators since 1973. Trophic dynamics were examined with respect to decadal, spatial, seasonal, and ontogenetic variations in feeding habits. Most species are opportunistic, generalist feeders exhibiting broad diets, but feeding patterns were identified over broad temporal and spatial scales and in relation to ontogenetic stages. Dietary overlap among numerous fish species within this ecosystem was moderate, although for the entire shelf community, diet overlap was generally low among all species, suggesting relatively minimal competition. Given the wide range of feeding habits of most species in this ecosystem, changes in prey or predator abundance are less likely to impact populations and the community compared to ecosystems with a high number of specialists. The recognition of patterns and processes in the NEUS continental shelf fish community over large temporal and spatial scales has remained a key objective for the FWDP given ongoing efforts with food habits sampling, particularly during periods of intense fishing pressure"--Abstract.
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