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Ecological commonalities among pelagic fishes: comparison of freshwater ciscoes and marine herring and sprat
Mehner, T.; Busch, S.; Clemmesen, C.; Helland, I.P.; Hölker, F.; Ohlberger, J.; Peck, M.A. (2012). Ecological commonalities among pelagic fishes: comparison of freshwater ciscoes and marine herring and sprat. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 159(11): 2583-2603.
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162; e-ISSN 1432-1793, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Mehner, T.
  • Busch, S.
  • Clemmesen, C.
  • Helland, I.P.
  • Hölker, F.
  • Ohlberger, J.
  • Peck, M.A.

    Systematic comparisons of the ecology between functionally similar fish species from freshwater and marine aquatic systems are surprisingly rare. Here, we discuss commonalities and differences in evolutionary history, population genetics, reproduction and life history, ecological interactions, behavioural ecology and physiological ecology of temperate and Arctic freshwater coregonids (vendace and ciscoes, Coregonus spp.) and marine clupeids (herring, Clupea harengus, and sprat, Sprattus sprattus). We further elucidate potential effects of climate warming on these groups of fish based on the ecological features of coregonids and clupeids documented in the previous parts of the review. These freshwater and marine fishes share a surprisingly high number of similarities. Both groups are relatively short-lived, pelagic planktivorous fishes. The genetic differentiation of local populations is weak and seems to be in part correlated to an astonishing variability of spawning times. The discrete thermal window of each species influences habitat use, diel vertical migrations and supposedly also life history variations. Complex life cycles and preference for cool or cold water make all species vulnerable to the effects of global warming. It is suggested that future research on the functional interdependence between spawning time, life history characteristics, thermal windows and genetic differentiation may profit from a systematic comparison of the patterns found in either coregonids or clupeids.

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