A millennium of trophic stability inAtlantic cod (Gadus morhua): transition to a lower and converging trophic niche in modern times
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionScientific Reports. 2021, 11, 12681. 10.1038/s41598-021-92243-7
Stable isotope analyses of zooarchaeological material can be used to examine ecological variability in exploited species at centennial to millennial scales. Climate change is a notable driver of marine ecosystem change, although historical fishing is also likely to have impacted past marine systems. Fishing removes the oldest and largest individuals and may thereby result in shorter trophic pathways and reduced niche width of predatory fish species. In the current study we examine the trophic niche of Atlantic cod, haddock and Atlantic wolffish, in the last millennium using δ13C and δ15N values of bone collagen. We report a lower trophic level of Atlantic cod and haddock but higher level of wolffish in present times, following centuries at consistent and higher trophic levels of Atlantic cod. This results in a concurrent converging trophic niche of the demersal fish. We suggest that the current data set provides a valuable historical baseline facilitating interpretation of current variability in the trophic ecology of northern demersal fish.