Diet and feeding strategy of Northeast Atlantic mackerel (Scombrus scomber) in Icelandic waters

Cecilia Kvaavik, Gudmundur Oskarsson, Anna Kristín Daníelsdóttir, Gudrun Marteinsdottir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Predator-prey relations, as well as the trophic ecology of highly migratory marine species, is important to understand their impact on the ecosystem. Conventional methods were used to study the diet composition and feeding strategy of the Northeast Atlantic mackerel (Scombrus scomber), during their summer feeding migration to Icelandic waters in 2009–2014. In addition, generalised additive modelling (GAM) was used to determine which biological and environmental factors contribute to the variation of their stomach weight in the years 2011–2014. From the dietary analysis, we found that calanoid copepods (especially Calanus finmarchicus) were the most important contributor to the overall diet of mackerel in the years studied. Although in some years and areas, they also preyed heavily on larger prey items such as euphausiids, amphipods and megalopa larvae of crab and shrimp. The GAM showed that temperature and the time the day of sampling were significant explanatory variables for the stomach weight, while zooplankton biomass did not seem to have much influence. The Northeast Atlantic mackerel are ferocious feeders upon copepods, as well as exhibiting an overall opportunistic feeding strategy. During their feeding migration in Icelandic waters, they were found to feed on the most dominant species available to them.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e0225552
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 30 Dec 2019

Other keywords

  • Marine ecosystems
  • Animal migration
  • Trophic interactions
  • Predation
  • Far dýra
  • Makríll
  • Sjávarvistfræði
  • Vistkerfi
  • Ránlífi


Dive into the research topics of 'Diet and feeding strategy of Northeast Atlantic mackerel (Scombrus scomber) in Icelandic waters'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this