|Does the zooplankton prey availability limit the larval habitats of pike in the Baltic Sea?|In: Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science. Academic Press: London; New York. ISSN 0272-7714; e-ISSN 1096-0015, meer
Esox lucius; reproduction; larval fish; reed; Cyclopoida; Cladocera
|Auteurs|| || Top |
- Kallasvuo, M.
- Salonen, M.
- Lappalainen, A.
The objectives of this study were to (1) investigate whether the availability of suitable zooplankton prey limits the distribution of the coastal larval areas of pike (Esox lucius) in two archipelago areas of the northern Baltic Sea and (2) compare the availability of zooplankton prey in spring between different types of coastal littoral habitat. According to the results, reed belt habitats formed by Phragmites australis constitute hot spots for zooplankton prey in the coastal ecosystem. During the spring, reed-covered shores of the inner archipelago maintained more than 10 times higher densities of copepods and cladocerans, the preferred prey for larval pike, compared to the other studied shores. Temperature conditions were also most favourable in the reed belt habitat. Thus, the reed belts of the inner and middle archipelago were shown to form the best habitat for larval pike in the coastal area of the northern Baltic Sea, and this was also the only habitat where pike larvae were found. Our results suggest that the poor survival and recruitment of pike in the outer archipelago, however, cannot exclusively be explained by sub-optimal feeding conditions of the larvae. There are also other important factors, presumably connected to the exposure to the open sea, that affect the distribution of the pike larvae. Our results, however, highlight the importance of sheltered coastal reed belt shores as reproduction habitat for spring-spawning fish in the northern Baltic Sea. Further, this study disproves the assumption that the seaweed bladder wrack (Fucus vesiculosus) forms a reproduction habitat for pike in the coastal area.