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The relationship between piscivory and growth of white sucker (Catostomus commersoni) and yellow perch (Perca flavescens) in headwater lakes of the Canadian Shield

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Abstract:

We used data from a survey of 36 headwater lakes of the Canadian Shield to investigate the relationship between piscivory and growth, abundance, and longevity of white sucker (Catostomus commersoni) and yellow perch (Perca flavescens). The occurrence of northern pike (Esox lucius) and walleye (Sander vitreus) explained variations in the abundance of both white sucker and yellow perch, suggesting strong predation-induced mortality. The longevity of both species tended to be negatively related to increased piscivory. White sucker grew better and had a better condition in lakes with piscivores. Yellow perch showed only small among-lake differences in growth and condition. The superior competitive ability of white sucker over yellow perch could explain why yellow perch did not show improved growth or longevity where population densities were low in lakes with piscivores and white sucker. Furthermore, yellow perch growth was inversely related to the biomass of piscivorous fish in their first year of life. Stomach content data suggest that small yellow perch, which rely on zooplankton, might restrict their use of pelagic resources to reduce their predation risk by piscivores, thus reducing their growth. Our results show that the effects of piscivores can be species-specific and dependent on community structure.

Nous avons utilisé les données d'un inventaire de 36 lacs du bouclier canadien pour examiner la relation entre la piscivorie et la croissance, l'abondance ainsi que la longévité du meunier noir (Catostomus commersoni) et de la perchaude (Perca flavescens). L'occurrence du grand brochet (Esox lucius) et du doré jaune (Sander vitreus) ont expliqué les variations d'abondance du meunier noir et de la perchaude, suggérant une forte mortalité due à la prédation. La longévité des deux espèces tendait à diminuer en fonction du gradient de piscivorie. Le meunier noir a affiché une meilleure croissance et une meilleure condition dans les lacs avec piscivores. La perchaude n'a montré que des faibles différences de croissance entre les lacs étudiés. La supériorité compétitive du meunier noir sur la perchaude pourrait expliquer pourquoi la perchaude n'a pas profité de la réduction de sa densité dans les lacs avec piscivores et meuniers noirs. De plus, la croissance de la perchaude était inversement reliée à la biomasse des piscivores dans leur première année de vie. L'analyse des contenus stomacaux suggère que les perchaudes juvéniles, qui dépendent du zooplancton, pourraient réduire leur utilisation des ressources pélagiques pour diminuer leur risque de prédation par les piscivores, réduisant ainsi leur croissance. Nos résultats illustrent que les effets de la piscivorie peuvent être spécifiques à l'espèce et dépendants de la structure de la communauté.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 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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