Introduction of the European minnow into a subalpine lake: habitat use and long-term changes in population dynamics

Authors

  • J. Museth,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Biology and Nature Conservation, Agricultural University of Norway, P.O. Box 5014, N-1432 Ås, Norway
      ‡Author to whom correspondence should be addressed. Tel.: +47 64 94 85 29; fax: +47 64 94 85 02; email: jon.museth@ibn.nlh.no
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  • R. Borgstrøm,

    1. Department of Biology and Nature Conservation, Agricultural University of Norway, P.O. Box 5014, N-1432 Ås, Norway
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  • J. E. Brittain,

    1. Department of Biology and Nature Conservation, Agricultural University of Norway, P.O. Box 5014, N-1432 Ås, Norway
    2. Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries Laboratory, University of Oslo, N-0562 Oslo, Norway
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  • I. Herberg,

    1. Department of Biology and Nature Conservation, Agricultural University of Norway, P.O. Box 5014, N-1432 Ås, Norway
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  • C. Naalsund

    1. Department of Biology and Nature Conservation, Agricultural University of Norway, P.O. Box 5014, N-1432 Ås, Norway
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‡Author to whom correspondence should be addressed. Tel.: +47 64 94 85 29; fax: +47 64 94 85 02; email: jon.museth@ibn.nlh.no

Abstract

Minnows Phoxinus phoxinus, studied 30 years after the first record of the species in the subalpine Lake Øvre Heimdalsvatn, Norway, ≥55 mm LT, were estimated to have densities of c. 4.7 kg ha−1 (120 000 fish) in June 1999 and 2.1 kg ha−1 (63 000 fish) in June 2000. The population was characterized by low individual growth, delayed age of maturity and lived longer when compared to values reported in a previous study in the early phase of its establishment, and other values reported in the literature. Most minnows reached sexual maturity at 4–5 years and >55 mm LT. Although the estimated annual survival of minnows >55 mm was low (S=0.2), ages up to 13 years were recorded. Despite a moderate increase in the population size during the last 20 years, the present reduction in individual growth, followed by delayed age of maturity, suggested the existence of density-dependent effects on the population dynamics of the minnows. The minnows were restricted to the littoral zone and near bottom areas. A vertical or horizontal expansion in habitat use was probably prevented by the presence of piscivorous brown trout Salmo trutta.

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