A mesocosm experiment investigating the effects of substratum quality and wave exposure on the survival of fish eggs
2010, Stoll, Stefan, Probst, Wolfgang Nikolaus, Eckmann, Reiner, Fischer, Philipp
In a mesocosm experiment, the attachment of bream (Abramis brama) eggs to spawning substrata with and without periphytic biofilm coverage and their subsequent survival with and without low-intensity wave exposure were investigated. Egg attachment was reduced by 73% on spawning substrata with a natural periphytic biofilm, compared to clean substrata. Overall, this initial difference in egg numbers persisted until hatching. The difference in egg numbers was even increased in the wave treatment, while it was reduced in the no-wave control treatment. Exposure to a low-intensity wave regime affected egg development between the two biofilm treatments differently. Waves enhanced egg survival on substrata without a biofilm but reduced the survival of eggs on substrata with biofilm coverage. In the treatment combining biofilm-covered substrata and waves, no attached eggs survived until hatching. In all treatments, more than 75% of the eggs became detached from the spawning substrata during the egg incubation period, and
Diet overlap between young-of-the-year perch,Perca fluviatilis L., and burbot, Lota lota (L.),during early life-history stages
2009, Probst, Wolfgang Nikolaus, Eckmann, Reiner
The diet overlap between young-of-the-year (YOY) perch and burbot in the pelagic zone of Lake Constance during spring and summer was investigated in relation to gape size limitation. Because perch were larger and grew faster than burbot during their early life history, perch overcame gape size limitation for various zooplankton taxa earlier than burbot. The interspecific diet overlap between perch and burbot decreased continuously until June, but increased slightly, when burbot became able to feed on large daphnids by the beginning of July. All zooplankton taxa could be found within perch stomachs by the middle of June, when perch overcame gape size limitation for large cladocerans. However, there was an increasing tendency for individual diet specialisation of perch, as the similarity between individual perch stomach contents decreased. In contrast, the similarity between individual burbot stomach contents remained at almost 50% until the end of August, indicating that all burbot rely on cyclopoid copepods during their entire pelagic life-history stage. Because by July YOY perch are more abundant by one order of magnitude in the pelagic zone than burbot, YOY perch may be more affected by intraspecific competition than by interspecific competition with burbot. Burbot, on the other hand, may evade strong competition with YOY perch by performing diel vertical migrations, thus being restricted to feed on migrating zooplankton prey.
The influence of light on the diel vertical migration of young-of-the-year burbot Lota lota in Lake Constance
2009, Probst, Wolfgang Nikolaus, Eckmann, Reiner
The diel vertical distribution of young-of-the-year (YOY) burbot Lota lota in the pelagic zone of Lake Constance was compared to light intensity at the surface and to the light intensity at their mean depth. Lota lota larvae inhabited the pelagic zone of Lake Constance from the beginning of May until the end of August. From early June, after the stratification of the water column, fish performed diel vertical migrations (DVM) between the hypolimnion and epilimnion. The amplitude of DVM increased constantly during the summer and reached 70 m by the end of August. Lota lota started their ascent to the surface after sunset and descended into the hypolimnion after sunrise. As the YOY fish grew from May to August, they experienced decreasing diel maximum light intensities: in May and early June L. lota spent the day at light intensities >40 W m-², but they never experienced light intensities >01 W m-² after the end of June. From this time, L. lota experienced the brightest light intensities during dusk and dawn, suggesting feeding opportunities at crepuscular hours. The present study implies, that YOY L. lota in the pelagic zone of Lake Contance increased their DVMamplitude during the summer to counteract a perceived predation risk related to body size and pigmentation.
Lake water level increase during spring affects the breeding success of bream Abramis brama (L.)
2009, Probst, Wolfgang Nikolaus, Stoll, Stefan, Peters, Lars, Fischer, Philipp, Eckmann, Reiner
In Lake Constance, Eurasian bream Abramis brama (L.) spawn in very shallow littoral areas by the beginning of May. They attach their adhesive eggs to pebble and cobble substratum at 40 cm depth. Increasing water levels before spawning inundate bare substratum to which bream eggs may attach better than to deeper substratum covered by epilithon. Consequently, the water level increase prior to spawning should determine the amount of pristine spawning substratum available to bream and thus influence their breeding success. In order to test this hypothesis, the influence of hydrology and climate on the abundance of age-0 bream was combined with the results from field investigations on the egg survival and abundance of age-0 bream. A strong positive correlation between the mean water level increase during the spawning season of bream (April May) and the abundance of juvenile bream was found. In contrast, the absolute water level during spawning and during the nursery stage in summer, the cumulative temperature during the egg, larval and juvenile stages and two North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) indices did not affect the abundance of juvenile bream. The field investigations confirmed that bream eggs attach better to and have higher survival rates on bare substratum than on substratum with epilithon cover. Accordingly, eggs within a spawning habitat of bream were most abundant between 10 and 20 cm depth, where the epilithon cover was lower than at depths exceeding 30 cm. The results of this study confirm an adverse influence of epilithon cover on the attachment and subsequent survival of bream eggs and emphasize the importance of spring inundations for the successful breeding of the bream.
Hydroacoustic observations of surface shoaling behaviour of young-of-the-year perch Perca fluviatilis (Linnaeus, 1758) with a towed upward-facing transducer
2009, Probst, Wolfgang Nikolaus, Thomas, Gregor, Eckmann, Reiner
The near-surface distribution of young-of-the-year perch was observed with a towed upward beaming echosounder system (SIMRAD EK60 with a circular 7◦ transducer). Perch aggregated densely in the epilimnion during daytime and dispersed evenly below the surface at night. Shoaling commenced in late June when perch metamorphosed from the larval to juvenile stage. Average shoal width was 6.6 m and average shoal height was 2.35 m in July, when perch were observed for the last time in the pelagic zone of Lake Constance.
Upward echosounding revealed the presence and near-surface distribution of pelagic juvenile perch and therefore this method can be used as a complementary survey tool to get more precise information about the distribution, behaviour and abundance of near-surface fish.
Spawning site selection by Eurasian perch (Perca fluviatilis L.) in relation to temperature and wave exposure
2009, Probst, Wolfgang Nikolaus, Stoll, Stefan, Hofmann, Hilmar, Fischer, Philipp, Eckmann, Reiner
The selection of spawning depth by Eurasian perch Perca fluviatilis was investigated in an experiment using artificial substrata in Lake Constance during the spawning season of 2007. The experiment compared spawning behaviour at substrata between 0.5 and 15 m depth at two sites exposed to different regimes of ship-generated wave action. The total abundance of egg ribbons did not differ significantly between the two sites, but the preferred spawning depth was deeper at the wave exposed site (5 m) compared to the sheltered site (2 m). While water temperatures could not account for the observations, differences in wave exposure may explain the different spawning depth preferences. At both sites, large egg ribbons were generally found in deeper water, and large egg ribbons occurred more frequently at the sheltered site. Because the egg ribbons of perch are likely to have a size-dependent susceptibility to hydrodynamic stress, large females may be expected to select deeper spawning locations where the effects of surface waves are considerably attenuated.