1. Relative body condition (the quantity of stored energy) is an important tool in understanding demographic variation and the ability of a population to respond to environmental stressors, varying food availability and competition.
2. A high-resolution database was used to examine causes of variation in the condition of north-east Arctic cod (Gadus morhua L.) for the period 1967-2004, over annual and monthly timescales. Community dynamics and climate variation were also tested as potential causes.
3. Temperature was shown to have a positive impact on condition at both inter- and intra-annual timescales. Interannually, temperature may affect stock distribution, in particular its overlap with the capelin stock. At shorter timescales it is likely that temperature directly affects the metabolism of the cod.
4. Intra-annually, the quantity of capelin in cod stomachs positively affected cod condition in the current and the preceding month for all lengths of cod. This indicated a time lag between a change in food consumption and a subsequent change in condition, or 'latency'.
5. Our study has shown that variation in temperature is a vital determinant of changes in condition, both at inter- and intra-annual timescales. Furthermore, the principle of latency has been demonstrated at the population level. Indirect effects of competition for energy-rich resources have been shown to have a negative effect on condition. This study supplements our knowledge of the implications for condition of changes in climate and in potential food resources.
- generalized least squares
- capelin mallotus-villosus
- Atlantic cod
- body condition
- Northern Norway