Trophic niche-space imaging, using resource and consumer traits
Nagelkerke, L.A.J. ; Rossberg, A.G. - \ 2014
Theoretical Ecology 7 (2014)4. - ISSN 1874-1738 - p. 423 - 434.
food-web structure - lake tana ethiopia - interaction strengths - fish assemblage - barbs barbus - body-size - ecological networks - species flock - general-model - patterns
The strength of trophic (feeding) links between two species depends on the traits of both the consumer and the resource. But which traits of consumer and resource have to be measured to predict link strengths, and how many? A novel theoretical framework for systematically determining trophic traits from empirical data was recently proposed. Here we demonstrate this approach for a group of 14 consumer fish species (Labeobarbus spp., Cyprinidae) and 11 aquatic resource categories coexisting in Lake Tana in northern Ethiopia, analysing large sets of phenotypic consumer and resource traits with known roles in feeding ecology. We systematically reconstruct structure and geometry of trophic niche space, in which link strengths are predicted by the distances between consumers and resources. These distances are then represented graphically resulting in an image of trophic niche space and its occupancy. We find trophic niche to be multi-dimensional. Among the models we analysed, one with two resource and two consumer traits had the highest predictive power for link strength. Results further suggest that trophic niche space has a pseudo-Euclidean geometry, meaning that link strength decays with distance in some dimensions of trophic niche space, while it increases with distance in other dimensions. Our analysis not only informs theory and modelling, but may also be helpful for predicting trophic link strengths for pairs of other, similar species.
Adaptive radiation of Lake Tana's (Ethiopia) Labeobarbus species flock (Pisces, Cyprinidae)
Graaf, M. de; Dejen, E. ; Osse, J.W.M. ; Sibbing, F.A. - \ 2008
Marine and Freshwater Research 59 (2008)5. - ISSN 1323-1650 - p. 391 - 407.
late pleistocene desiccation - tropical fish assemblage - cichlid fishes - barbs barbus - east-africa - reproductive segregation - ecological divergence - victoria - speciation - origin
Studying species flocks (e.g. Darwin¿s finches, Caribbean anoline lizards, East African cichlid fishes) has proven to be highly successful in understanding the forces driving speciation. The only known, intact species flock of cyprinid fishes, the 15 Labeobarbus species in Lake Tana (Ethiopia), includes eight piscivorous species. Piscivory is a rare specialisation among the highly successful (>2000 species) but mostly benthivorous Cyprinidae. The extent and mechanisms of diversification of this remarkable Labeobarbus species flock, particularly among the unexpected piscivorous species, are still largely unknown. In the present study we demonstrate that all 15 Labeobarbus species are segregated to a great extent along spatial, trophic and/or temporal dimensions. The spatial distribution, diet (prey species but not prey size), time of active feeding and predation techniques differed significantly among the eight piscivores. Lake Tana¿s cyprinids displayed their retained potential for ecological diversification and speciation, including the uncommon specialisation of piscivory. The latter is probably a result of the absence of common African specialist piscivores in Lake Tana. We suggest that the evolution of Lake Tana¿s Labeobarbus species flock at this stage is predominantly structured by ecological selection models. The labeobarbs most likely underwent sequential stages of radiation and speciation: habitat divergence followed by trophic divergence.
Seasonal variation in primary production of a large high altitude tropical lake (Lake Tana, Ethiopia): effects of nutritient availability and water transparency
Wondie, A. ; Mengistu, S. ; Vijverberg, J. ; Dejen, E. - \ 2007
Aquatic Ecology 41 (2007)2. - ISSN 1386-2588 - p. 195 - 207.
barbs barbus - turbid waters - species flock - cyprinidae - reservoir
Primary production rates, chlorophyll and phytoplankton biovolume were measured monthly from April 2003 to November 2004 in Lake Tana, a large tropical lake in the highlands of Ethiopia. The lake is characterised by low nutrient concentrations, and a low water transparency due to high silt load of the inflowing rivers during the rainy seasons (May¿November) and daily resuspension of sediments in the inshore zone. The mean chlorophyll-a concentrations varied seasonally and ranged from 2.6 mg m¿3 to 8.5 mg m¿3 (mean: 4.5 mg m¿3) in the offshore zone. Primary production was measured using the light¿dark bottles technique. We incubated only at three depths, i.e. 0.6, 1.2 and 1.8 m. Therefore, we may have missed a substantial part of the depth production profile and probably also frequently missed P max. Gross primary production in the openwater averaged 2.43 g O2 m¿2 d¿1 and ranged between 0.03 g O2 m¿2 d¿1 and 10.2 g O2 m¿2 d¿1; production was significantly higher in the inshore zone. The highest production rates were observed in the post-rainy season (Oct¿Nov), which coincided with a bloom of Microcystis and higher chlorophyll levels. This seasonal high production is probably caused by a relatively high nutrient availability in combination with favourable light conditions. The gross primary production rates of L. Tana are among the lowest compared with other tropical lakes. This will be partly the result of our underestimation of gross primary production by often missing P max. Another cause is the oligotrophic nature of the lake in combination with its relatively low water transparency. The gross primary production per unit chlorophyll in the openwater zone was in the same range as in 30 other tropical lakes and reservoirs. The higher primary production in the inshore zone is probably the result of the daily water column mixing (Z mix ¿ Z t) in this area, enhancing nutrient recycling. A large proportion of the annual primary production is realised in one of the four seasons only. This productive post-rainy season is relatively short (2 months) and therefore efficiency of transfer of matter between the first and second trophic level of the Lake ecosystem will be poor.
Vulnerability to a small-scale commercial fishery of Lake Tana's (Ethiopia) endemic Labeobarbus compared with African catfish and Nile tilapia: An example of recruitment-overfishing?
Graaf, M. de; Zwieten, P.A.M. van; Machiels, M.A.M. ; Lemma, E. ; Wudneh, T. ; Dejen, E. ; Sibbing, F.A. - \ 2006
Fisheries Research 82 (2006)1-3. - ISSN 0165-7836 - p. 304 - 318.
oreochromis-niloticus - species flock - reproductive segregation - perch upsurge - barbs barbus - cyprinidae - victoria - impact
In 1986 a motorised, commercial gillnet fishery was introduced in Lake Tana, Ethiopia's largest lake (3050 km2) in addition to the artisanal, predominantly subsistence fishery conducted from reedboats. The three main species groups targeted by this fishery are a species flock of endemic, large Labeobarbus spp., African catfish (Clarias gariepinus) and Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus). The commercial gillnet fisheries was monitored during 1991-1993 and in 2001 (CPUE, effort allocation, catch composition, yield) and the development of the stocks of the three species groups was determined using an experimental trawl program during 1991-1993 and 1999-2001. In 1991-1993 the vast majority of fishing activities took place in the southern Bahar Dar Gulf (71%). Each species group contributed roughly one third to the total catch. In 2001, 41% of the effort was allocated to the north-eastern shores of Lake Tana. Both the CPUE and the contribution of O. niloticus to the total catch had doubled. However, the proportion of large specimen (>50 cm TL C. gariepinus; >20 cm FL O. niloticus) in the trawl surveys decreased significantly. A three-fold decline in abundance of the anadromous Labeobarbus species occurred. The 15 large labeobarb species are long-lived, ecologically specialised endemics. The seven riverine spawning Labeobarbus species form aggregations in the river mouths in August-September, during which period they are targeted by the commercial gillnet fishery. A sharp decrease in abundance by ca. 75% of the migratory riverine spawning Labeobarbus species in the sublittoral and pelagic zones of the lake, areas where no fishing takes place and the collapse of juvenile Labeobarbus (between 5 and 18 cm FL: by 90%) during the 1990s suggest recruitment-overfishing. To prevent the possible extinction of the unique Labeobarbus species flock all fishing effort should be severely restricted near the river mouths and on the upstream spawning areas during August-September (peak breeding period) to protect the vulnerable spawning aggregations