Temperature and size-dependent attack rates of the three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus): are sticklebacks in the Baltic Sea resource-limited?
2014 (English)In: Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, ISSN 0022-0981, E-ISSN 1879-1697, Vol. 451, 82-90 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
The three-spined stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus is a small omnivorous fish, widely distributed in the northern hemisphere. In the Baltic Sea, recently observed increases in their population densities have been attributed to declines of piscivorous predators. Concurrent with this predator release, an alternative hypothesis is that past and present consumption rates and resource limitation thresholds may have contributed to the recent increases in stickleback abundance. To evaluate this hypothesis, we estimated the size- and temperature-dependent attack rate and the critical resource density (CRD) of three-spined sticklebacks. We incorporated laboratory results with time series of zooplankton abundance to estimate historical trends in degrees of resource limitation in sticklebacks and evaluate if increases in individual consumption rates could be a plausible mechanism facilitating the suggested population increase. Attack rates increased with body size and temperature in laboratory experiments. Estimated CRD increased with size but decreased with temperature, suggesting that stickleback scope for individual and population growth might increase at temperatures above 15 degrees C. Our results further suggest that sticklebacks have been living closer to maximum consumption capacity in the coastal areas of the Bothnian Sea (BS) and Bothnian Bay (BB). Moreover, decreasing levels of resource limitation in the corresponding off-shore zones may have facilitated increases in stickleback densities for these areas. However, in the coastal zones of the Baltic proper (BP), resource levels have declined and are approaching the CRD, suggesting that stickleback populations in BP may not increase further. The decrease in CRD with temperature implies that increasing summer temperatures will increase the scope of individual and population growth in the three-spined stickleback and may favor the three-spined stickleback's competitive ability over other species under a warmer climate. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2014. Vol. 451, 82-90 p.
Competitive interactions, Consumption rates, Critical resource density, Growth, Routine metabolism
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-87418DOI: 10.1016/j.jembe.2013.11.008ISI: 000331663800010OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-87418DiVA: diva2:709336