Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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    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.
    Growth, biomass, and production of two small barbs (Barbus humilis and B. tanapelagius, Cyprinidae) and their role in the food web of Lake Tana (Ethiopia)
    Dejen, E. ; Vijverberg, J. ; Nagelkerke, L.A.J. ; Sibbing, F.A. - \ 2009
    Hydrobiologia 636 (2009)1. - ISSN 0018-8158 - p. 89 - 100.
    species flock - seasonal-variation - fish - zooplankton - model
    Growth, biomass and production of two small barbs (Barbus humilis and Barbus tanapelagius) and their role in the food web of Lake Tana were investigated. From length–frequency distribution of trawl monitoring surveys growth coefficient, F' values were estimated at 3.71–4.17 for B. humilis and 3.70–4.14 for B. tanapelagius, respectively. Values for B. humilis were confirmed in pond experiments. Mean biomass of the small barbs was 13.3 kg fresh wt ha-1, with B. humilis being most abundant in the littoral and sub-littoral zones, whereas B. tanapelagius was most abundant in the sub-littoral and pelagic zones. The two small barbs had a production of 53 kg fresh wt ha-1 year-1. Although their P/B ratios of about 4.0 were relatively high for small cyprinids, both their biomass and production were low in comparison with other small fish taxa in other tropical lakes. Of the zooplankton production only about 29% was consumed by the small barbs. However, they did not utilize calanoid copepods, which were responsible for approximately 57% of the zooplankton production and it is likely that small barb production was food limited during certain periods of the year. Piscivorous labeobarbs consumed about 56% of the small barbs production annually, but additionally, Clarias gariepinus, and many bird species were also preying on them. Therefore, limitation of Barbus production by predation during certain periods in the year cannot be excluded
    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
    Predicting and testing resource partitioning in a tropical fish assemblage of zooplanktivorous 'barbs': an ecomorphological approach
    Dejen, E. ; Vijverberg, J. ; Graaf, M. de; Sibbing, F.A. - \ 2006
    Journal of Fish Biology 69 (2006)5. - ISSN 0022-1112 - p. 1356 - 1378.
    lake tana ethiopia - species flock - sri-lanka - growth - tanapelagius - cyprinidae - reservoirs - humilis - overlap - shifts
    Morphometrics on 25 critical feeding structures predicted conspicuous specializations in Barbus tanapelagius (pursuit hunting for zooplankton), Labeobarbus brevicephalus (surface dwelling pump-filter-feeder on zooplankton) and Barbus pleurogramma (particulate feeding on tough, benthic food), whereas for Barbus humilis intermediate values predicted few constraints and specializations in feeding. These potential niches, set by fish size and structural constraints, were tested by comparing gut contents collected during a 24 months sampling programme on Lake Tana, Ethiopia. Zooplankton dominated the diet of B. tanapelagius (75% of gut volume) and L. brevicephalus (39%). The guts of B. pleurogramma and juveniles of the large labeobarbs showed an array of benthic food types, whereas B. humilis had the widest food niche, both zooplankton (40% of gut volume) and benthic invertebrates. Although the pelagic species showed the largest spatial overlap, their size, feeding modes and utilization of zooplankters differed: L. brevicephalus preyed predominantly on the larger zooplankton (Daphnia sp.) and B. tanapelagius also on smaller species (e.g. Bosmina sp. and cyclopoid copepods). The spatial segregation between B. tanapelagius (pelagic) and the juvenile labeobarbs (littoral) indicated the possibility for a small pelagic barb fishery without negative effects on the labeobarb stocks. The ecomorphological approach using the 'Food-Fish Model' appeared to predict competitive positions and resource partitioning appropriately, and is of major importance to evaluate food web interactions
    Lacustrine spawning: is this a new reproductive strategy among 'large' African cyprinid fishes?
    Graaf, M. de; Nentwich, E.D. ; Osse, J.W.M. ; Sibbing, F.A. - \ 2005
    Journal of Fish Biology 66 (2005)5. - ISSN 0022-1112 - p. 1214 - 1236.
    barbus-intermedius complex - lake tana ethiopia - species flock - adaptive radiation - speciation - evolution - divergence - salmon - diversification - segregation
    Changes in the gonadosomatic index and abundance of the different Labeobarbus species in the mouths of four major afferent rivers of Lake Tana, Ethiopia, were monitored monthly during 1999 and 2000. Riverine spawning was characteristic for seven of Lake Tana's 15 contemporary Labeobarbus species. These seven did not show spatial segregation among afferent rivers but significant temporal segregation occurred in aggregating in the river mouths and migrating towards the upstream spawning areas during the breeding season (June¿October). Among the eight other species, peak gonad development occurred generally in the same period as in the riverine spawners. These species, however, did not aggregate in the river mouths during the breeding period and were absent from the upstream spawning areas. A derived, novel strategy, lacustrine spawning was hypothesized for these eight Labeobarbus species. This hypothesis was further supported by observations of running female fishes in the littoral zones distant from any of the afferent rivers. This derived strategy is only common among the littoraldwelling Labeobarbus species with restricted distribution patterns. At present it is thought that sequential waves of speciation and habitat divergence followed by trophic specialization, shaped the diversity of Lake Tana labeobarbs.
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