Líffræðifélag Íslands - biologia.is
Líffræðiráðstefnan 2017

Erindi/veggspjald / Talk/poster E6

Capelin (Mallotus villosus) a key forage species in a sub-arctic ecosystem during a climate change

Höfundar / Authors: Birkir Bárðarson

Starfsvettvangur / Affiliations: Hafrannsóknastofnun (Marine and Freshwater Research Institute)

Kynnir / Presenter: Birkir Bárðarson

Capelin is a small pelagic fish with circumglobal distribution in the northern hemisphere with preferred habitat in the arctic front. This makes capelin an important indicator for the effects of climate change on arctic and sub-arctic ecosystems. Within the Iceland–East Greenland–Jan Mayen ecosystem capelin is one of the most important forage species. Capelin is the main prey species of Icelandic cod and also highly important food source for other fish species, marine mammals and seabirds. This abundant schooling fish feeds mainly on copepods, euphausids and amphipods where importance of each group varies with capelin size, season and location. Extensive migrations of capelin cause important energy transport from feeding grounds in the north towards and along the Icelandic shelf. During last two decades there has been a considerable shift in observed distribution, abundance and migration of capelin, coinciding with increased seawater temperature and salinity north of Iceland.