Glacial clay affects foraging performance in a Patagonian fish and cladoceran
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- Jönsson, M., Ranåker, L., Nicolle, A. et al. Hydrobiologia (2011) 663: 101. doi:10.1007/s10750-010-0557-4
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Climate change is altering temperatures and precipitation patterns all over the world. In Patagonia, Argentina, predicted increase in precipitation together with rapidly melting glaciers increase the surface runoff, and thereby the transport of suspended solids to recipient lakes. Suspended solids affect the visual conditions in the water which in turn restricts visual foraging. The native fish Aplochiton zebra Jenyns, and its filter-feeding cladoceran prey, Daphnia commutata Ekman, were subjected to foraging experiments at three turbidity levels. A. zebra foraging rate was substantially reduced at naturally occurring turbidity levels and the filtering rate of D. commutata was reduced at the highest turbidity level. This indicates that Daphnia may be partly released from predation from A. zebra at the same time as it can maintain relatively high feeding rates as turbidity increases. Lower foraging rates at the same time as the metabolic demand increases, through increased temperatures, may result in larger effects on A. zebra than could be expected from increases in turbidity or temperature alone. Turbidity may, as an indirect effect of climate change, decrease planktivore foraging rates and thereby alter the interaction strength between trophic levels.