Year-class fluctuations in vendace, Coregonus albula (Linnaeus): Who's got the upper hand in intraspecific competition?

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Abstract

The vendace Coregonus albula (L.) populations in the lakes Mjøsa and Osensjøen exhibited fluctuating year-class strength. In Mjøsa, a strong year-class emerged every third year, except for the four year period between the strong year-classes 1969 and 1973. The difference between the strong and weak year-classes decreased from the 1960s, through the 1970s to the 1980s. The Mjøsa vendace matured sexually at age 2 +, and more than ten sexually mature age-groups were present in the population. Growth ceased at maturation, and asymptotic length was 23.6 cm. In Osensjøen, one strong year-class (1969) dominated the population during the period 1976–1987. The Osensjøen vendace matured sexually at age 3, and more than 15 sexually mature age-groups were present in the population. Growth ceased at maturation, and asymptotic length was 28.4 cm. In both lakes, vendace fed on crustacean zooplankton in the epilimnion throughout summer and autumn. Our data indicate that regular year-class oscillations occur as a result of the juvenile survival being negatively correlated to the number of adults.

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