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The impact of predation by burbot (Lota lota L.) on the macroinvertebrate community in the littoral zone of a large lake
Baumgärtner, D.; Rothhaupt, K.-O. (2005). The impact of predation by burbot (Lota lota L.) on the macroinvertebrate community in the littoral zone of a large lake. Aquat. Ecol. 39(1): 79-92
In: Aquatic Ecology. Springer: Dordrecht; London; Boston. ISSN 1386-2588, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Benthos; Community composition; Fish; Interactions; Lakes; Littoral zone; Mesocosms; Predation; Gammarus roeseli; Lota lota (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]; Germany, Constance L. [Marine Regions]; Fresh water

Authors  Top 
  • Baumgärtner, D.
  • Rothhaupt, K.-O.

    We studied the effects of predation by juvenile burbot (Lota lota) on the macroinvertebrate community in mesocosm experiments in the stony littoral zone of Lake Constance, a large prealpine lake in Central Europe. Although the growth data of the burbot suggest that the benthivorous fish exerts strong predation pressure on the invertebrate community, the predicted level of consumption is only poorly reflected by changes in biomass and abundance of most invertebrate prey taxa. High exchange rates of the prey between the mesocosms and the ambient littoral environment apparently masked the true predation effects of fish. Also, life-history events such as hatching or synchronised emergence of larvae led to temporal effects that obscured the impact of predation. However, for the dominant prey organism, the freshwater amphipod Gammarus roeseli, direct lethal effects appeared when its migration was limited. When exchange with the ambient littoral zone was possible, abundance and biomass of G. roeseli were unexpectedly high in the mesocosms stocked with burbot, indicating behavioural responses to fish presence. During the experiment, the burbot gained ca. 15% in length and about 60% in body mass. According to stomach content analyses at the end of the experiment, the ingested prey consisted mainly of relatively large and abundant invertebrates. Our study indicates that predation by juvenile burbot should be an important factor in structuring the benthic invertebrate community in terms of qualitative and quantitative effects.

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