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Is coarse woody debris in lakes a refuge or a trap for benthic invertebrates exposed to fish predation?
2014 (English)In: Freshwater Biology, ISSN 0046-5070, E-ISSN 1365-2427, Vol. 59, no 11, p. 2400-2412Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Coarse woody debris (CWD) in the littoral zone of lakes constitutes a preferred habitat for macroinvertebrates and fish. CWD differs in the surface complexity depending on its decay status. Therefore, CWD may provide distinct types of shelters and thus modify the structure of the macroinvertebrate community as well as its susceptibility to fish predation. We ran an enclosure experiment in a lake littoral zone to test the effect of surface complexity of CWD on the interactions between the predator, Eurasian perch (Perca fluviatilis) and its potential macroinvertebrate prey. We deployed 10 enclosures containing fresh wood with a smooth surface and 10 enclosures containing decayed wood with a more complex, rough surface and allowed colonisation by macroinvertebrates. Five enclosures of each type were then stocked by perch and exposed to fish predation. The abundance and biomass of macroinvertebrates were significantly higher on decayed wood with greater surface complexity than on fresh wood; however, the type of CWD did not strongly influence the taxonomic composition and diversity of invertebrates. The direct effect of perch predation on the macroinvertebrate community was weak. Perch reduced only the abundance of adult Dikerogammarus villosus, while other potential prey, such as chironomids, was more abundant in the presence of the fish. The impact of perch consumption of these larvae was probably obscured by interspecific interactions among chironomids and D. villosus, which were impaired in the fish enclosures. We found no clear evidence that the influence of perch on macroinvertebrates was mediated by the complexity of the wood surface. However, fish diet analysis showed that on decayed wood, perch preferentially consumed chironomids, and consumption of D. villosus was much lower, while on fresh wood, the preferential consumption of chironomids decreased with increasing consumption of gammarids. This suggests that such differences in fish diet could be an effect of complex interactions between wood microstructure, prey density and its ability to find refuge in CWD. The effect of CWD microstructure on predator–prey interactions was visible with respect to interspecific relationships between chironomids and gammarids, which on more complex decayed wood were moderated in the absence of perch.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 59, no 11, p. 2400-2412
Keywords [en]
Dikerogammarus villosus, Eurasian perch, habitat complexity, littoral zone, predator–prey interactions
National Category
Ecology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-165426DOI: 10.1111/fwb.12446OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-165426DiVA, id: diva2:1372621
Available from: 2019-11-25 Created: 2019-11-25 Last updated: 2019-11-25

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Publisher's full texthttps://www.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/fwb.12446Electronic full text

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Pilotto, Francesca
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