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Resource Ecology & Ecosystem Modeling (REEM) Program

9th International Polychaete Conference

Figure 3.  Polychaetes (Family Scalibregmidae) extracted from a southern rock sole stomach.

Mei-Sun Yang presented the results of a study of polychaete consumption by marine fishes in the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska at the 9th International Polychaete Conference held in Portland, Maine, 12-17 August 2007. This study examined the percent in diet and geographic distribution of polychaetes (Fig. 3) consumed by marine fishes in the study region. The main fish predators of polychaetes included Alaska plaice (Pleuronectes quadrituberculatus), northern rock sole (Lepidopsetta polyxystra), yellowfin sole (P. asper), Dover sole (Microstomus pacificus), rex sole (Errex zachirus) and flathead sole (Hippoglossoides elassodon).

Indices of polychaetes abundance (expressed as percentage of total stomach contents weight) by subregion were estimated to show the relative abundance of polychaetes consumed each year by groundfish in both the eastern Bering Sea (1981-2006) and Gulf of Alaska (1987-2006). Polychaetes abundance ranged from 71.11% of Alaska plaice stomach contents to 1% of flathead sole stomach contents in the eastern Bering Sea. In the Gulf of Alaska, polychaetes abundance ranged from 1% of flathead sole stomach contents to 56.91% of rex sole stomach contents.

Estimates of the total amount of polychaetes consumed by the groundfish population during each summer feeding season of each year ranged from 93,111 metric tons (t) in 1999 to 27,705 t in 1990 for the Gulf of Alaska. In the eastern Bering Sea, the estimate ranged from 2,632,022 t in 1994 to 914,382 t in 1985.

By Mei-Sun Yang, Geoff Lang, Angie Greig, and Kerim Aydin

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