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Winter ecology of Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus) and brown trout (Salmo trutta) in a subarctic lake, Norway
Amundsen, Per-Arne; Knudsen, R. (2009). Winter ecology of Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus) and brown trout (Salmo trutta) in a subarctic lake, Norway. Aquat. Ecol. 43(3): 765-775
In: Aquatic Ecology. Springer: Dordrecht; London; Boston. ISSN 1386-2588, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Feeding; Fish; Ice; Interactions; Winter; Marine; Brackish water; Fresh water

Authors  Top 
  • Amundsen, Per-Arne
  • Knudsen, R.

Abstract
    We studied habitat choice, diet, food consumption and somatic growth of Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus) and brown trout (Salmo trutta) during the ice-covered winter period of a subarctic lake in northern Norway. Both Arctic charr and brown trout predominantly used the littoral zone during winter time. Despite very cold winter conditions (water temperature <1°C) and poor light conditions, both fish species fed continuously during the ice-covered period, although at a much lower rate than during the summer season. No somatic growth could be detected during the ice-covered winter period and the condition factor of both species significantly declined, suggesting that the winter feeding rates were similar to or below the maintenance requirements. Also, the species richness and diversity of ingested prey largely decreased from summer to winter for both fish species. The winter diet of Arctic charr <20 cm was dominated by benthic insect larvae, chironomids in particular, and Gammarus lacustris, but zooplankton was also important in December. G. lacustris was the dominant prey of charr >20 cm. The winter diet of brown trout <20 cm was dominated by insect larvae, whereas large-sized trout mainly was piscivorous, feeding on juvenile Arctic charr. Piscivorous feeding behaviour of trout was in contrast rarely seen during the summer months when their encounter with potential fish prey was rare as the small-sized charr mainly inhabited the profundal. The study demonstrated large differences in the ecology and interactions of Arctic charr and brown trout between the winter and summer seasons.

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