|The impact of fish predation on shallow soft bottoms in brackish waters (SW Finland); an experimental study|
Mattila, J.; Bonsdorff, E. (1989). The impact of fish predation on shallow soft bottoms in brackish waters (SW Finland); an experimental study. Neth. J. Sea Res. 23(1): 69-81
In: Netherlands Journal of Sea Research. Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ): Groningen; Den Burg. ISSN 0077-7579, more
The impact of fish predation on shallow soft bottoms was studied by field and laboratory experiments. The field manipulations (caging experiments) were carried out in 2 shallow (1.5 m) bays in the northern Baltic Sea. An a priori hypothesis that fish do not structure macrozoobenthic communities in shallow soft-bottom areas was tested. Short-term aquarium experiments clearly showed that perch (Perca fluviatilis L.), roach (Rutilus rutilus L.) and ruffe (Acerina cernua L.) are all effective predators on benthic macro-invertebrates (Corophium volutator Pallas and Nereis diversicolor O.F. Müller) under laboratory conditions. Thus fish can be considered a potential structuring force on benthic communities in shallow soft-bottom areas. Caging experiments of one to two months' duration (partial and total exclosure of fish and enclosure with perch) induced only minor changes in the benthic community. These results support the a priori hypothesis. One of our main conclusions is, however, that fish predation and other biotic interactions (competition, disturbance, etc.) together with abiotic factors play some role in the structuring processes. Multilevel testing is needed in studies on biotic interactions in the marine environment. Results from a specific environment should not automatically be applied to other kinds of habitats.