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Density dependence and density independence in the demography and dispersal of pike over four decades

Haugen, Thrond O.; Winfield, Ian J.; Vollestad, L. Asbjorn; Fletcher, Janice M.; James, J. Ben; Stenseth, Nils Chr.. 2007 Density dependence and density independence in the demography and dispersal of pike over four decades. Ecological Monographs, 77 (4). 483-502.

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Abstract/Summary

Quantifying the effects of density-dependent and density-independent factors in demographic and dispersal processes remains a major challenge in population ecology. Based on unique long-term capture–mark–recapture (CMR) data (1949–2000) on pike (Esox lucius) from Windermere, United Kingdom, we provide estimates of density-dependent and densityindependent effects, under the influence of individual size and sex, on natural survival, fishing mortality, and dispersal. Because survival is expected to be related to the individual growth process, we also explore the degree of parallelism between the two processes by applying the best-supported survival model structure to individual growth data. The CMR data were analyzed using sex- and age-structured multistate models (two lake basins: north and south) assuming no seasonal variation in survival and dispersal. Total survival and dispersal probabilities were insensitive to this assumption, and capture probability was shown to be robust to assumptions about intra-annual variation in survival and dispersal. The analyses revealed that large pike (.55 cm) displayed marked basin-specific differences in survival and dispersal responses to the abundance of conspecifics in which pike from the south basin show high density dependence in survival and a low degree of density dependence in dispersal, whereas the opposite was found for those of the north basin. Both large- and small-pike dispersals were found to be dependent upon the between-basin gradient in perch (Perca fluviatilis, the main prey) abundance, but most so for north-to-south dispersal. The strength and pattern of density-dependent mortality in small pike was influenced by temperature in a peculiar way: at low summer temperatures survival was lowest at high small-pike abundances and low perch abundances; at low temperatures, survival was lowest at high small-pike abundances and high perch abundances. Analyses of individual small-pike growth trajectories showed a similar modulation of the positive perch abundance effect on growth rate when temperature increases. The growth analysis also indicated that cannibalism may be biased in favor of rapidly growing individuals or at least increased growth rate for the surviving individuals. Altogether, this study provides evidence of a complex interplay between densitydependent and density-independent factors affecting survival, dispersal, and individual growth of an aquatic top predator.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Water
CEH Sections: Parr
ISSN: 0012-9615
Additional Keywords: cannibalism, capture–mark–recapture, demography, density dependence, Esox lucius, growth, harvesting, Perca fluviatilis, predator–prey interaction, temperature, Windermere, United Kingdom
NORA Subject Terms: Zoology
Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 15 Nov 2007 15:48
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/1186

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