Distribution, characteristics and condition of Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus) spawning grounds in a differentially eutrophicated twin-basin lake

Miller, Helen; Winfield, Ian J.; Fletcher, Janice M.; James, J. Ben; Van Rijn, Joey; Bull, Jonathan M.; Cotterill, Carol. 2015 Distribution, characteristics and condition of Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus) spawning grounds in a differentially eutrophicated twin-basin lake. Ecology of Freshwater Fish, 24 (1). 32-43.

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Spawning is a key but often fragile event in the life cycles of fish populations. Nevertheless, it has been relatively little studied for lithophilic lacustrine species requiring hard spawning substrates, such as gravels or stones, largely devoid of fine sediments. Twelve demonstrated or putative spawning grounds of Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus) in shallow and deep areas of the north and south basins of the eutrophicated lake of Windermere, UK, were described by hydroacoustic, physical and visual surveys. In addition, their current conditions were compared with their original qualitative descriptions made over 50 years ago. Spawning ground characteristics were found to be more complex than originally described, with considerable overlaps in depth ranges and only limited areas of appropriate hard substrates. Moreover, extensive gill netting surveys in recent years have found spawning Arctic charr at only seven of the original 12 demonstrated or putative spawning grounds, although several new spawning areas have also been found. The distribution of unsuitable fine sediments is widespread in the lake, particularly in the more eutrophicated south basin where suitable spawning habitat within the putative spawning areas is limited. Windermere faces a number of environmental problems including climate change and species introductions. However, the temporal and spatial patterns of the lake's eutrophication suggest that associated increases in fine sediments have been a major driver of the observed deterioration of Arctic charr spawning grounds and so may have also contributed to a marked decline recently observed in the local abundance of this species.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Parr
ISSN: 0906-6691
Additional Keywords: Arctic charr, Salvelinus alpinus, UK, Windermere, spawning grounds, littoral, bottom substrate, eutrophication
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 27 Mar 2014 09:54 +0 (UTC)

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