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Density-dependent effects as key drivers of intraspecific size structure of six abundant fish species in lakes across Europe

Arranz, Ignasi; Mehner, Thomas; Benejam, Lluís; Argillier, Christine; Holmgren, Kerstin; Jeppesen, Erik; Lauridsen, Torben L.; Volta, Pietro; Winfield, Ian J.; Brucet, Sandra. 2016 Density-dependent effects as key drivers of intraspecific size structure of six abundant fish species in lakes across Europe [in special issue: Size-based approaches in aquatic ecology and fisheries science: a symposium in honour of Rob Peters] Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 73 (4). 519-534. https://doi.org/10.1139/cjfas-2014-0508

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Abstract/Summary

We studied fish size structure by using mean size, size diversity, and the slope of linear size spectra of six common European fish species along large-scale environmental gradients. We further analyzed the response of these three size metrics to environmental variables and to density-dependent effects, i.e., relative estimates of abundance (catch per unit effort, CPUE). We found differences in the strength of main predictors of size structure between the six species, but the direction of the response was relatively similar and consistent for most of the size metrics. Mean body size was negatively related to temperature for perch (Perca fluviatilis), roach (Rutilus rutilus), and ruffe (Gymnocephalus cernuus). Lake productivity (expressed as total phosphorus concentration) and lake depth were also predictors of size structure for four of six species. Moreover, we found a strong density dependence of size structure for all species, resulting in lower mean body size and size diversity and steeper size spectra slopes when density dependence increases. This suggests that density dependence is a key driver of fish size structure.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): https://doi.org/10.1139/cjfas-2014-0508
CEH Sections/Science Areas: Parr
ISSN: 0706-652X
Additional Keywords: environmental gradient, density-dependent effect, size structure, fish life history
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 02 Sep 2015 11:09 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/511709

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