Crater Lake is a unique environment to evaluate the ecology of introduced kokanee and rainbow trout because of its otherwise pristine state, low productivity, absence of manipulative management, and lack of lotic systems for fish spawning. Between 1986 and 2004, kokanee displayed a great deal of variation in population demographics with a pattern that reoccurred in about 10 years. We believe that the reoccurring pattern resulted from density dependent growth, and associated changes in reproduction and abundance, driven by prey resource limitation that resulted from low lake productivity exacerbated by prey consumption when kokanee were abundant. Kokanee fed primarily on small-bodied prey from the mid-water column; whereas rainbow trout fed on large-bodied prey from the benthos and lake surface. Cladoceran zooplankton abundance may be regulated by kokanee. And kokanee growth and reproductive success may be influenced by the availability of Daphnia pulicaria, which was absent in zooplankton samples collected annually from 1990 to 1995, and after 1999. Distribution and diel migration of kokanee varied over the duration of the study and appeared to be most closely associated with prey availability, maximization of bioenergetic efficiency, and fish density. Rainbow trout were less abundant than were kokanee and exhibited less variation in population demographics, distribution, and food habits. There is some evidence that the population dynamics of rainbow trout were in-part related to the availability of kokanee as prey. ?? 2007 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Additional publication details
Variability of kokanee and rainbow trout food habits, distribution, and population dynamics, in an ultraoligotrophic lake with no manipulative management