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Use of stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes to trace the larval striped bass food chain in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Estuary, California, April to September 1985

Water-Resources Investigations Report 88-4164

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Abstract

To assess one potential cause for the decline of the striped bass fishery in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Estuary, stable carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios were used to examine the trophic structures of the larval striped bass food chain, and to trace the flux of these elements through the food chain components. Study results generally confirm a food chain consisting of the elements, phytoplankton/detritus-->zooplankton/Neomysis shrimp-->larval striped bass. The stable isotope ratios generally become more positive as one progresses from the lower to the higher trophic level food chain components, and no unusual trophic structure was found in the food chain. However, the data indicate an unidentified consumer organism occupying an intermediate position between the lower and higher trophic levels of the larval striped bass food chain. Based on expected trophic interactions, this unidentified consumer would have a stable carbon isotope ratio of about 28/mil and a stable nitrogen isotope ratio of about 8/mi. Three possible feeding stages for larval striped bass also were identified, based on their lengths. The smallest length fish seem to subsist on their yolk sac remnants, and the largest length fish subsist on Neomysis shrimp and zooplankton. The intermediate-length fish represent a transition stage between primary food sources and/or use of a mixture of food sources. (USGS)

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Use of stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes to trace the larval striped bass food chain in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Estuary, California, April to September 1985
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
88-4164
Edition:
-
Year Published:
1989
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey,
Description:
v, 62 p. :ill., one map ;28 cm.