Recent comparative studies suggest that macroinvertebrates in small Boreal Plains lakes respond to large fluctuations in fish densities caused by winterkill and subsequent recovery even when such fluctuations involve the normally piscivorous northern pike (Esox lucius). We introduced pike into a boreal lake made fishless by a past winterkill to isolate experimentally the effects of pike on littoral macroinvertebrates. We compared postmanipulation macroinvertebrate data from the experimental lake (EXP) to premanipulation data from the same lake, to parallel data from 2 unmanipulated reference lakes (R1 and R2) containing pike, and to data from mesocosms within EXP. Pike in all 3 lakes preyed heavily upon macroinvertebrates; diets consisted predominantly of the amphipod Gammarus lacustris in R1 and R2 and erpobdellid leeches in EXP. Principal components analysis (PCA) of macroinvertebrate communities distinguished between systems with and without fish and detected a shift in the macroinvertebrate community of EXP and predator-exposed control mesocosms away from large conspicuous taxa (e.g., odonates, coleopterans, and leeches) toward less-conspicuous taxa such as dipterans and trichopterans following manipulation. Responses of individual taxa were generally in agreement with PCA; erpobdellid leeches and odonates showed consistent negative responses to pike. Our study provides experimental evidence at the whole-lake scale that northern pike can affect littoral macroinvertebrates in small boreal lakes, and demonstrates the sensitivity that littoral food webs in these systems can have to changes in the density of fish.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 24 • No. 4