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Impacts of altered benthic invertebrate communities on the feeding ecology of yellow perch (Perca flavescens) in metal-contaminated lakes

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Metal contamination can disrupt trophic links in food webs by altering the taxonomic composition and size structure of benthic macroinvertebrate communities. Benthic macroinvertebrates and yellow perch (Perca flavescens) were collected from six lakes along a gradient of cadmium (Cd) and copper (Cu) contamination in Quebec, Canada. The two most contaminated lakes had significantly lower densities of several benthic macroinvertebrate taxa and significantly lower Shannon's index than less contaminated lakes. The stomach contents of perch from the most contaminated lakes were less diverse, with a greater reliance on chironomids and (or) zooplankton than perch from other study lakes. The size of prey in perch from the most contaminated lakes did not increase with age and the mean prey size was smaller than in other, less contaminated lakes. Perch from lakes with medium to low levels of contamination weighed significantly more than perch from lakes with high levels of contamination. This reduction in growth is attributed to the increased costs of foraging on a simplified prey base in metal-contaminated systems.

La contamination par les métaux peut perturber les liens trophiques dans les réseaux alimentaires en modifiant la composition taxinomique et la structure en taille des communautés de macroinvertébrés benthiques. Nous avons prélevé des macroinvertébrés benthiques et des perchaudes (Perca flavescens) dans six lacs le long d'un gradient de contamination au cadmium (Cd) et au cuivre (Cu) au Québec, Canada. Dans les deux lacs les plus contaminés, la densité de plusieurs taxons de macroinvertébrés benthiques est significativement plus basse et l'indice de Shannon est significativement plus faible que dans les lacs moins contaminés. Les contenus stomacaux de perchaudes provenant des lacs les plus contaminés sont moins diversifiés et sont plus dominés par les chironomidés et (ou) le zooplancton que ceux des perchaudes des autres lacs étudiés. Dans les lacs les plus contaminés, la taille des proies n'augmente pas en fonction de l'âge des perchaudes et la taille moyenne des proies est plus faible que dans les autres lacs moins contaminés. Les perchaudes provenant des lacs à contamination moyenne à faible pèsent significativement plus que les perchaudes des lacs à forte contamination. Nous attribuons cette réduction de la croissance aux coûts accrus de la recherche de nourriture dans un réseau de proies simplifié dans les systèmes contaminés par les métaux.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2005

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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