Is coexistence mediated by microhabitat segregation? An in-depth exploration of a fish invasion

Authors

  • K. Ø. Gjelland,

    Corresponding author
    1. * Norwegian College of Fishery Science, University of Tromsø, 9037 Tromsø, Norway and Norwegian Institute of Gene Ecology, 9037 Tromsø, Norway
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  • T. Bøhn,

    1. * Norwegian College of Fishery Science, University of Tromsø, 9037 Tromsø, Norway and Norwegian Institute of Gene Ecology, 9037 Tromsø, Norway
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  • P.-A Amundsen

    1. * Norwegian College of Fishery Science, University of Tromsø, 9037 Tromsø, Norway and Norwegian Institute of Gene Ecology, 9037 Tromsø, Norway
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†Tel.: +47 77 64 52 62; fax: +47 77 64 60 20; email: karl.gjelland@nfh.uit.no

Abstract

Vendace Coregonus albula has invaded the subarctic Pasvik hydrosystem, northern Norway and Russia, after being translocated from its native Finnish range into Lake Inari (Finland), upstream of Pasvik. The development of the invader and the effects on two native lake communities in the upstream and downstream part of the hydrosystem, respectively, have been monitored since 1991. In the upstream lake location, the invader relegated the native whitefish Coregonus lavaretus from the pelagic habitat within a few years. An expected similar development in the downstream location was, however, not observed. Data are presented on the diet and microhabitat use (vertical pelagic zone) for three types of replicated situation: (1) the invader v. the native species, (2) upstream v. downstream lakes and (3) early and late invasion stages, to explore the outcome of the competitive interactions. The use of different microhabitats available within the deeper pelagic zone in the downstream location was observed to have delayed the negative effects on native whitefish, possibly enabling a persistent coexistence between the two species in the pelagic zone of this lake.

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