Decrease of Population Divergence in Eurasian Perch (Perca fluviatilis) in Browning Waters: Role of Fatty Acids and Foraging Efficiency
Self archived versionpublished version
MetadataShow full item record
CitationScharnweber Kristin. Strandberg Ursula. Karlsson Konrad. Eklöv Peter. (2016). Decrease of Population Divergence in Eurasian Perch (Perca fluviatilis) in Browning Waters: Role of Fatty Acids and Foraging Efficiency. PLOS ONE, 11 (9) , e0162470. 10.1371/journal.pone.0162470.
Due to altered biogeochemical processes related to climate change, highly colored dissolved organic carbon (DOC) from terrestrial sources will lead to a water “brownification” in many freshwater systems of the Northern Hemisphere. This will create deteriorated visual conditions that have been found to affect habitat-specific morphological variations in Eurasian perch (Perca fluviatilis) in a previous study. So far, potential drivers and ultimate causes of these findings have not been identified. We conducted a field study to investigate the connection between morphological divergence and polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) composition of perch from six lakes across a gradient of DOC concentration. We expected a decrease in the prevalence of PUFAs, which are important for perch growth and divergence with increasing DOC concentrations, due to the restructuring effects of DOC on aquatic food webs. In general, rate of morphological divergence in perch decreased with increasing DOC concentrations. Proportions of specific PUFAs (22:6n-3, 18:3n-3, 20:5n-3, and 20:4n-6) identified to primarily contribute to overall differences between perch caught in clear and brown-water lakes tended to be connected to overall decline of morphological divergence. However, no overall significant relationship was found, indicating no severe limitation of essential fatty acids for perch inhabiting brown water lakes. We further broaden our approach by conducting a laboratory experiment on foraging efficiency of perch. Therefore, we induced pelagic and littoral phenotypes by differences in habitat-structure and feeding mode and recorded attack rate in a feeding experiment. Generally, fish were less efficient in foraging on littoral prey (Ephemeroptera) when visual conditions were degraded by brown water color. We concluded that browning water may have a strong effect on the forager’s ability to find particular food resources, resulting in the reduced development of evolutionary traits, such as habitat- specific morphological divergence.