Habitat overlap of juvenile and adult lake trout of Great Bear Lake: Evidence for lack of a predation gradient?

Ecology of Freshwater Fish
By: , and 

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Abstract

A range of organisms, from plankton to fish, commonly shift their habitat distributions horizontally or vertically due to predation risk. Juvenile lake trout, Salvelinus namaycush, are generally viewed as occupying deep areas of lakes to decrease predation pressure from adults. In contrast, we found that juvenile lake trout from Great Bear Lake, NT, Canada, occupied a variety of habitats and from shallow to deep depths (0–150 m), overlapping with adult lake trout. No evidence occurred for a length depth‐based segregation (e.g., ontogenetic shift). Genetic variation was also similar among juveniles in the different depth zones. However, isotopic niches and C:N ratios among juveniles showed some variability in niche widths and positions for individuals caught from the 51–150 m zone compared to juvenile individuals caught from 0–20 m and 21–50 m zones. The uniformly distributed adult lake trout in Great Bear Lake may evenly distribute predation pressure (including cannibalism) across shallow‐ and deep‐water habitats more than in other lakes. As a result, juveniles may respond to differences in foraging opportunities rather than predation risks. Juvenile lake trout did not appear to conform to the general pattern of juveniles seeking a deep‐water refuge to reduce predation risks. In contrast, juvenile lake trout of Great Bear Lake displayed broad resource use across all depths and habitats.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Habitat overlap of juvenile and adult lake trout of Great Bear Lake: Evidence for lack of a predation gradient?
Series title Ecology of Freshwater Fish
DOI 10.1111/eff.12470
Volume 28
Issue 3
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Great Lakes Science Center
Description 14 p.
First page 485
Last page 498
Country Canada
State Northwest Territories
Other Geospatial Great Bear Lake