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The influence of light on the diel vertical migration of young-of-the-year burbot Lota lota in Lake Constance

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The diel vertical distribution of young-of-the-year (YOY) burbot Lota lota in the pelagic zone of Lake Constance was compared to light intensity at the surface and to the light intensity at their mean depth. Lota lota larvae inhabited the pelagic zone of Lake Constance from the beginning of May until the end of August. From early June, after the stratification of the water column, fish performed diel vertical migrations (DVM) between the hypolimnion and epilimnion. The amplitude of DVM increased constantly during the summer and reached 70 m by the end of August. Lota lota started their ascent to the surface after sunset and descended into the hypolimnion after sunrise. As the YOY fish grew from May to August, they experienced decreasing diel maximum light intensities: in May and early June L. lota spent the day at light intensities >40 W m−2, but they never experienced light intensities >0ยท1 W m−2 after the end of June. From this time, L. lota experienced the brightest light intensities during dusk and dawn, suggesting feeding opportunities at crepuscular hours. The present study implies, that YOY L. lota in the pelagic zone of Lake Constance increased their DVM amplitude during the summer to counteract a perceived predation risk related to body size and pigmentation.

Keywords: gadoid; hydroacoustics; larvae; ontogeny; pelagic; predator evasion

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: Limnological Institute, University of Konstanz, 78457 Konstanz, Germany

Publication date: January 1, 2009


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