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Differential time budgets of two forms of juvenile brook charr in the open-water zone

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No significant differences were found in the time budget (time spent in feeding, moving and stationary), attack rate (number of feeding bouts min−1), and microhabitat use of juvenile (1+ years) littoral and pelagic brook charr Salvelinus fontinalis at 2 and 4 m depth, when restricted to feeding in pelagic enclosures. In contrast, fish of the littoral form allocated significantly more time than pelagic ones to feeding, moving and in total activity at 3 m depth. No significant differences were found in attack rate between the two forms at any given depth. Based on the mean for the water column (all depths pooled), however, fish of the littoral form executed a significantly higher attack rate than fish of the pelagic one. In multiple regressions analyses, the best predictors of time allocated to feeding and attack rate were the dummy variable ‘form’ (littoral individuals spend significantly more time in feeding than pelagic ones), light intensity at the surface (negative) and water temperature (positive), and explained 48 and 55% of these variations, respectively. Time allocated to moving was only explained by water temperature (negative) and explained 43% of the variation. Time in a stationary position was best explained by water temperature (negative) and light intensity at the surface (positive), explaining 52% of the variation. The results of this study support the hypothesis that littoral brook charr spend more energy in foraging than pelagic ones when restricted to feeding in the pelagic habitat, and thus that trophic diversification is adaptive in this species.

Keywords: activity; attack rate; behaviour; foraging; time budget; trophic polymorphism

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: 1: Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, Département de chimie-biologie, C.P. 500, Trois-Rivières, Québec, G9A 5H7, Canada and 2: Université de Montréal, Départment de biologie, C.P. 6128, Succursale Centre-Ville, Montréal, Québec, H2Y 2E7, Canada

Publication date: 2003-09-01

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