The ecological role of overwintering fish in the food web of the Culbin Sands lagoon ecosystem, NE Scotland: Identifying major trophic links and testing effects of the fish Pomatoschistus microps (Pallas) on benthic invertebrates


  • Vanda Mariyam Mendonça Marine Science and Fisheries Centre, Ministry of Fisheries
  • David Raffaelli Department of Environment, University of York
  • Peter Boyle Department of Zoology, University of Aberdeen
  • Chas Emes Biodiversity and Conservation Field Station, University of Aberdeen, Newburgh



Pomatoschistus microps, Pleuronectes platessa, energy flow, predator impacts, Culbin Sands lagoon


The Culbin Sands lagoon ecosystem in NE Scotland was studied during a three-year period (1994-1996) to identify the major trophic links from benthic invertebrates to epibenthic predators, and to assess impacts of overwintering fish on their prey communities. Every 2-4 weeks, samples of mobile fauna were collected to study their diets. The major trophic links identified between benthic invertebrates and epibenthic predators were from benthic invertebrates to the shrimp Crangon crangon, and to the common goby Pomatoschistus microps and the plaice Pleuronectes platessa. The energy flow from benthic invertebrates to overwintering fish was estimated at 133 kJ m–2 yr–1. A flow of 10 kJ m–2 yr–1 was also observed from eggs and larval stages of the overwintering shrimp Crangon crangon to the overwintering fish. Nevertheless, manipulative field experiments showed no significant impacts of the most abundant overwintering fish Pomatoschistus microps on prey community densities, despite an overall individual ingestion rate of 89 J day–1.


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Author Biography

Vanda Mariyam Mendonça, Marine Science and Fisheries Centre, Ministry of Fisheries

Centre of Marine Sciences (CCMAR) / Centre of Marine and Environmental Research (CIMAR), University of Algarve


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How to Cite

Mariyam Mendonça V, Raffaelli D, Boyle P, Emes C. The ecological role of overwintering fish in the food web of the Culbin Sands lagoon ecosystem, NE Scotland: Identifying major trophic links and testing effects of the fish Pomatoschistus microps (Pallas) on benthic invertebrates. scimar [Internet]. 2007Dec.31 [cited 2022Aug.14];71(4):649-60. Available from: