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Forskningsartikel2022Vetenskapligt granskadÖppen tillgång

Effects of Habitat-Specific Primary Production on Fish Size, Biomass, and Production in Northern Oligotrophic Lakes

Norman, Sven; Nilsson, Karin A.; Klaus, Marcus; Seekell, David; Karlsson, Jan; Bystrom, Par


Ecological theory predicts that the relative distribution of primary production across habitats influence fish size structure and biomass production. In this study, we assessed individual, population, and community-level consequences for brown trout (Salmo trutta) and Arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus) of variation in estimated habitat specific (benthic and pelagic) and total whole lake (GPP(whole)) gross primary production in 27 northern oligotrophic lakes. We found that higher contribution of benthic primary production to GPP(whole) was associated with higher community biomass and larger maximum and mean sizes of fish. At the population level, species-specific responses differed. Increased benthic primary production (GPP(Benthic)) correlated to higher population biomass of brown trout regardless of being alone or in sympatry, while Arctic char responded positively to pelagic primary production (GPP(Pelagic)) in sympatric populations. In sympatric lakes, the maximum size of both species was positively related to both GPP(Benthic) and the benthic contribution to GPP(Whole). In allopatric lakes, brown trout mean and maximum size and Arctic char mean size were positively related to the benthic proportion of GPP(Whole). Our results highlight the importance of light-controlled benthic primary production for fish biomass production in oligotrophic northern lakes. Our results further suggest that consequences of ontogenetic asymmetry and niche shifts may cause the distribution of primary production across habitats to be more important than the total ecosystem primary production for fish size, population biomass, and production. Awareness of the relationships between light availability and asymmetric resource production favoring large fish and fish production may allow for cost-efficient and more informed management actions in northern oligotrophic lakes.


Keywords; Ontogenetic asymmetry; Lake productivity; Benthic primary production; Pelagic primary production; Arctic char; Brown trout

Publicerad i

2022, Volym: 25, nummer: 7, sidor: 1555-1570
Utgivare: SPRINGER