First-year overwinter mortality in Eurasian perch (Perca fluviatilis L.) : results from a field study and a simulation experiment
1999, Radke, Robert J., Eckmann, Reiner
The importance of overwinter mortality of 0+ perch (Perca fluviatilis L.) in central European lakes was estimated using a stochastic simulation model. The probability of overwinter mortality of a perch cohort was calculated by using a model developed for yellow perch (P. flavescens Mitchill). Winter duration from a long-term data set and the length of perch at the end of the first year from five lakes were used as input data. After 1000 simulation runs, the total extinction of a cohort in the lakes studied was never predicted. Mortality rates of more than 0.5 were only predicted in two of the five lakes, and rates of more than 0.3 in these two lakes were predicted in approximately 10% of all cases. For two consecutive winters differing in duration, the length-frequency distributions of 0+ perch in the autumn and following spring were compared by a graphical method. No significant size-dependent mortality of smaller individuals could be detected in any of the populations studied. Simulated spring length-frequencies were derived from observed autumn length distributions by the same model that was used for the stochastic simulation. These simulated and the empirical spring length-frequency distributions were not identical. The differences between the two distributions were attributed to growth. which occurred between the sampling dates. The results from the simulation and the analysis of the empirical data suggest that high overwinter mortality caused by starvation is rare in central European lakes.