Combined stable isotope and gut contents analysis of food webs in plant-dominated, shallow lakes

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Jones, J.I. ; Waldron, S. (2003)

1. To determine feeding links between primary producers, invertebrates and fish, stable isotope analyses and gut content analyses of fish were conducted on the components of four shallow, eutrophic to hypertrophic, plant-dominated lakes.\ud \ud 2. Although separation of basal resources was possible, the diets of both fish and invertebrates were broad, comprising food from different compartments (planktonic, epiphytic/benthic), as well as from different trophic levels.\ud \ud 3. Mixing models were used to determine the extent to which periphyton production supported higher trophic levels. Only one species of invertebrate relied upon periphyton production exclusively.\ud \ud 4. Fish density affected the diets of invertebrates. The response was different for planktonic and epiphytic/benthic invertebrates. The proportion of periphyton production in the diets of zooplankton appeared to increase with fish density, whilst it decreased for other invertebrates.\ud \ud 5. As all zooplankton samples were collected in the open water at dusk, these results are further evidence for the diurnal horizontal migration of zooplankton. Although not conclusive, they are consistent with a behavioural response by invertebrates and zooplankton in the presence of fish.
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