eesti teaduste
akadeemia kirjastus
SINCE 1952
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of the estonian academy of sciences
ISSN 1736-7530 (Electronic)
ISSN 1736-6046 (Print)
Impact Factor (2020): 1.045

Fish predation pressure on zooplankton in a large northern temperate lake: impact of adult predators versus juvenile predators; pp. 356–367

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Kai Ginter, Kätlin Blank, Juta Haberman, Andu Kangur, Külli Kangur


In recent decades, a marked decrease in planktivorous fish (Osmerus eperlanus eperlanus m. spirinchus Pallas and Coregonus albula (L.)) in Lake Peipsi has stimulated research into the potential effect of fish predation on zooplankton. The abundance of planktivorous fish and the abundance and biomass of zooplankton were studied from 1986 to 2014, and the diet of plankton-eating fish was analysed from 2007 to 2013. A linear regression model was used to establish possible trends in the zooplankton assemblages (biomass, abundance, mean weight of individuals) and in the abundance of zooplankton-eating fish. The ANOVA test was used to evaluate differences in the zooplankton assemblages and in fish consumption in the years with large and small fish cohorts. Despite the collapse of the smelt and vendace populations, the abundance of plankton-eating fish remained high due to an increase in the abundance of juvenile fish. Fish juveniles consumed as much as or even more zooplankton than adult planktivores. Since 1986, a significant decrease was observed in the cladoceran and copepod biomass and in the mean body weight of cladocerans. Large cladocerans such as Leptodora kindtii (Focke) and Bythotrephes longimanus Leydig were rare in zooplankton samples and the biomass of Bosmina spp. decreased. Changes in the structure of the zooplankton community were most likely caused by the feeding of juvenile fish as the calculated consumption by fish was high, especially in years with particularly large fish cohorts.


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