Ecological consequences of food partitioning for the fish population structure in a eutrophic lake


In the highly eutrophic lake, Frederiksborg Slotssø, the diet composition of the bream (Abramis brama L.) and roach (Rutilus rutilus L.) populations was examined during three periods with different food availability. The length range of bream and roach was 9–34 cm (TL) and 5–18 cm (TL), respectively. The relative food composition was examined for 2 cm and 1 cm length intervals of bream and roach, respectively. During all three periods, bream shifted from benthic cladocerans (Alona sp.) to zooplankton and chironomids within a transitional length of 15.0–20.0 cm. These foodshifts were coupled with a change in feeding behaviour from particulate to filter feeding. The biomass of chironomids was too low to sustain the consumption of larger bream (>20.0 cm) which initiated feeding in the pelagic zone even in periods when the mean length and biomass of the preferred zooplankton, Daphnia cucullata, were low. In contrast to bream, roach fed mainly on zooplankton. With increasing size, roach progressively shifted to larger zooplankton species due to the increasing mesh size of their branchial system. The importance of benthic animals in the diet of roach was minor due to low feeding efficiency on prey buried in the sediment. Detritus appeared in the diet of bream and roach in periods of low availability of animal food items. Feeding on detritus may provide an energetic advantage to bream and roach and increase the carrying capacity for these species in lakes, where detritus is highly abundant. Especially for the larger fish due to the decrease in their relative metabolic demands. However, the ability of bream to filter feed and with increasing size to retain food items smaller than those retained by roach may be the main mechanism for the dominance of bream over roach in highly eutrophic lakes.

DOI: 10.1007/BF00024237

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@article{Michelsen2004EcologicalCO, title={Ecological consequences of food partitioning for the fish population structure in a eutrophic lake}, author={Kim G. Michelsen and Jens Pedersen and Kirsten Seestern Christoffersen and Frank Jensen}, journal={Hydrobiologia}, year={2004}, volume={291}, pages={35-45} }