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Response of the residential piscivorous fish community to introduction of a new predator type in a mesotrophic lake

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Abstract:

Although the effects of introduced predators on prey populations in aquatic ecosystems have been studied frequently, less is known about the interactions between predators. We performed a whole-lake experiment by stocking a non-native top predator (pikeperch (Sander lucioperca)) to two residential piscivores (Eurasian perch (Perca fluviatilis) and northern pike (Esox lucius)). By analyzing spatial distribution, diet composition, growth, and consumption rates of the piscivores before and after pikeperch introduction, we tested how both density-dependent and trait-mediated responses affected interactions between the three predators. Total piscivore biomass increased 1.5 times and annual consumption by the piscivores increased 1.7 times after stocking, attributable to the stocked pikeperch and increased northern pike abundances. Abundance, distribution, and consumption data indicated that northern pike was hardly affected by pikeperch stocking and even increased its biomass, whereas piscivorous perch shifted its habitat use towards the littoral lake areas in response to competition with pikeperch. Furthermore, all piscivores increasingly fed on small perch. The forced habitat shift of piscivorous perch in combination with increased predation on small perch led to a decreased abundance of large perch, attributable to the compensatory effects of intraguild predation and cannibalism.

Alors que les effets des prédateurs introduits sur les populations de proies dans les écosystèmes aquatiques ont souvent été étudiés, les interactions entre les prédateurs eux-mêmes sont moins bien connues. Dans une expérience à l'échelle d'un lac, nous avons ajouté un prédateur supérieur non indigène (« pikeperch » (Sander lucioperca)) à un peuplement de poissons ichtyophages résidents (la perche (Perca fluviatilis) et le grand brochet (Esox lucius)). L'analyse de la répartition spatiale, de la composition du régime alimentaire, de la croissance et des taux de consommation avant et après l'introduction du pikeperch nous a permis de vérifier comment les réactions liées à la densité et celles reliées aux caractéristiques biologiques affectent les interactions entre les trois prédateurs. Après l'empoissonnement, la biomasse totale des poissons piscivores a augmenté de 1,5 fois et la consommation annuelle des piscivores de 1,7 fois; cela s'explique par l'introduction des pikeperch et l'abondance accrue des grands brochets. Les données sur l'abondance, la répartition et la consommation indiquent que le grand brochet est à peine affecté par l'introduction du pikeperch et qu'il augmente même sa biomasse, alors que la perche piscivore modifie son utilisation de l'habitat et choisit de préférence les zones littorales du lac en réaction à la compétition par le pikeperch. De plus, tous les piscivores se nourrissent davantage de petites perches. Le changement forcé d'habitat des perches piscivores combiné à la prédation accrue sur les petites perches a pour effet de diminuer l'abondance des perches de grande taille, ce qui est attribuable aux effets compensatoires de la prédation et du cannibalisme au sein de la guilde.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2006

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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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