• brown trout;
  • diet;
  • habitat;
  • predation;
  • trophic interactions;
  • whitefish

Abstract –  Seasonal variation in light intensity has strong impacts on invertebrate and vertebrate habitat selection creating trade-offs between foraging gain and risk of death. Diel vertical migration (DVM) has received a particularly interest, but multitrophic level studies in lakes under polar light regime have not been conducted. Here, we examined habitat selection of pelagic zooplankton, planktivores and piscivores in subarctic Lake Muddusjärvi with polymorphic whitefish (Coregonus lavaretus (L.)). Seasonal change in light was hypothesized to be the most important abiotic factor inducing DVM, whereas predation was considered as an ultimate biotic factor. During period of mid-night sun in June, no DVM was observed at any trophic level, whereas during normal day and night light in September planktivores and zooplankton migrated. DVM was top-down controlled, where piscivorous brown trout (Salmo trutta L.) used pelagic habitat continuously inducing DVM of its main prey, pelagic whitefish morph, which cascaded to reverse DVM of zooplankton. Top-down control of lower trophic level DVMs by piscivores might be more general pattern in lakes than previously considered.