Temperature mediated effects on top consumer populations in subarctic lakes
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
The effects of temperature on top consumer populations in subarctic lake communities were studied by contrasting two lake pairs in different climate regimes: one pair on the low alpine tundra and one pair in the subalpine birch forest. We measured zooplankton and macroinvertebrate biomasses over the season and estimated population density and size structure of the top consumer Arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus). Furthermore, we modelled char growth using literature data on temperature dependent search rate, handling time and metabolic demands. The forest lakes were warmer than the tundra lakes. Char in the forest lakes were larger and had a higher individual growth compared to char in the tundra lakes, while population density and biomasses of char were not different between the forest and the tundra lakes. There were no differences in macroinvertebrate and zooplankton resource levels available for char between lake pairs. Our modeling of char growth revealed that higher temperature increased growth of char at the observed resource densities, suggesting that the higher temperature in the forest lakes was primarily the cause of the higher growth of char in these lakes. We suggest that cannibalism in char may regulate char recruitment and thereby population density and biomass of char leading to effects of increasing temperature on consumer biomass and consumer individual growth different from what is expected in pure consumer-resource systems. Our results emphasize the importance of feedbacks within ecosystems when addressing effects of climate change and increasing temperature on lake communities.
Arctic char, temperature, cannibalism, ecological feedbacks, climate
Research subject biology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-37989OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-37989DiVA: diva2:371632