Browsing All Posts filed under »fish«

Benefits and costs of habitat complexity

December 21, 2017

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The fact that biodiversity tends to be higher in structurally complex habitats suggests that, on balance, the fitness-related advantages of habitat complexity outweigh the disadvantages.  Possible advantages include a greater supply of locations where animals can hide from predators and conserve their energy, and higher abundances of potential prey.  Also, in complex habitats less energy […]

Once more from the top

December 21, 2017

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Top-down trophic cascades are population-level effects transmitted along food chains, from consumers down to primary producers.  In a typical three-level food chain the loss of top predators (for example, as a result of human exploitation) allows herbivore populations to increase, which in turn reduces populations of algae or higher plants.   However, few studies have considered […]

Why are cold water fish bigger?

December 21, 2017

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In a wide range of animal groups, maximum body sizes tend to be higher in temperate and polar species than in those living closer to the equator, and there’s been a lively debate about the underlying reasons for this trend.  French and Bolivian scientists  investigated possible explanations by using a family of freshwater fish (the […]

Deforestation means defishation

December 21, 2017

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The impacts of tropical deforestation on terrestrial biodiversity are well known but only a few studies have considered the impacts of deforestation on freshwater systems.  Such effects are likely to be significant, given the importance of riparian vegetation as a source of nutrients and the high abundances of fish in tropical floodplain forests.  In a […]

Mosquitofish threaten frogs

September 25, 2017

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The mosquitofish, Gambusia holbrooki, is one of the most invasive freshwater fish species in the world.  Although it’s been widely introduced for mosquito control, it has a broad diet that includes algae, higher plants, detritus, invertebrates and fish.  As a result, the species has negative predatory and competitive effects on native fish.   Although declines in […]

Predatory fish control prey populations – but not when the prey are other fish

September 25, 2017

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Many lake studies have shown that predatory fish feeding on plankton or bottom-living invertebrates have a strong influence on the density, species composition and size structure of prey populations. Typically, there’s an inverse relationship between predator and prey populations, both in terms of  density and in mean body size.  However, there have been few reports […]

Coarse, shallow and wooden… but useful nonetheless

June 19, 2017

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Coarse woody debris (CWD) derived from shoreline trees provides an important, spatially complex habitat and a food source for lake-dwelling organisms. Here are some interesting facts about lake CWD, taken from a recent review paper: In the absence of the physical action of flowing water, CWD breaks down more slowly in lakes than in streams. […]