, Volume 348, Issue 1, pp 113-126

First online:

Habitat use and life history of brown trout (Salmo trutta) and Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus) in some low acidity lakes in central Norway

  • Trygve HesthagenAffiliated withNorwegian Institute for Nature Research
  • , Bror JonssonAffiliated withNorwegian Institute for Nature Research
  • , Ola UgedalAffiliated withFinnmark College
  • , Torbjørn ForsethAffiliated withNorwegian Institute for Nature Research

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Habitat utilization and the life history of browntrout Salmo trutta and Arctic charr Salvelinus alpinus were investigated in fivesympatric populations and five allopatric brown troutpopulations in Høylandet catchment, a atmosphaericlow deposition area in Mid Norway. There was asignificant inverse correlation in abundance ofepibenthic Arctic charr and brown trout in theselakes, indicating that the latter species is dominant.The largest numbers of sympatric brown trout andArctic charr were caught in epibenthic habitat. In twolakes, brown trout to some extent also occurredpelagically, while pelagic individuals of Arctic charrwere found in all five lakes. The main food items forboth epibenthic and pelagic brown trout wereterrestrial surface insects and chironomid pupae.Zooplankton was the primary food item for Arctic charrin both habitats. Although the age distribution wasvery different in the populations, neither speciesseem to suffer from recruitment failure. There was nosignificant difference in survival rates betweensympatric populations of brown trout and Arctic charr.We found a significant inverse correlation betweenepibenthic catches of brown trout and the mean weightof 4+ fish, the most abundant age group. However, ifusing weight data for three-year-old fish, no suchrelationship was found for Arctic charr. Brown troutand Arctic charr reached asymptotic lengths of197–364 mm and 259–321 mm, respectively. Both speciestypically reached sexual maturity at age 2–3, and nomaturation-induced mortality was evident. We concludethat fish populations in Høylandet lakes areregulated throughout their lifes by inter- andintraspecific competition.

Arctic charr brown trout low acidity lakes habitat use life history