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Food selection of Coregonus lavaretus in a brackish water ecosystem

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This study examined how variability in the abundance and biomass structure of benthic invertebrates affected the feeding choice of the whitefish Coregonus lavaretus on a hard bottom habitat of the brackish Baltic Sea. In general, crustaceans such as Idotea balthica and Gammarus spp. were preferred over molluscs. Although being the most numerous taxon in the invertebrate samples, Mytilus trossulus was the lowest ranking in C. lavaretus food preference. The availability of benthic invertebrate prey set the dietary range of fish but the selectivity largely described fish feeding within this range. There was no clear link between fish predation and the dominance structure of benthic invertebrate communities, suggesting that species composition, abundance and biomass of invertebrate species had no impact on the feeding selectivity of the fish. Thus, while fish predation may not affect the dominant species within a benthic community, due to strong selectivity fish may impose strong pressure on some rarer but highly preferred invertebrate prey species.
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Keywords: Baltic Sea; feeding selectivity; macroinvertebrates; prey diversity; whitefish

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: Estonian Marine Institute, University of Tartu, Mäealuse 14, 12618 Tallinn, Estonia

Publication date: 2011-02-01

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