Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 7–31

Trophic and spatial interrelationships in the fish species of an Ontario temperate lake

  • Allen Keast

DOI: 10.1007/BF00006306

Cite this article as:
Keast, A. Environ Biol Fish (1978) 3: 7. doi:10.1007/BF00006306


Analysis of the fish faunas of Lake Opinicon and other small, cold temperate Ontario water bodies shows that the component species differ in body size, morphology, abundances, habitats, diurnal and seasonal habitat utilization patterns, diets, dietary changes with age, reproductive strategies, and population turnover rates. These differences are detailed.

The number of species occurring in a lake is partly due to historic factors, the number of habitats available, and morphological, behavioral and ecological adaptations that, by channelling their owners towards alternative resources, permit species to co-occur. Diet overlap values between most species are low except for the congeneric bluegill and pump-kinseed sunfishes, where values are moderate. These are the two commonest species in the lake and other parameters must increase the ecological differences between these two species.

Lake Opinicon is a highly variable ecosystem. Part of this variability stems from the seasonal nature of the environment and the fact that different resources reach their peak abundance at different times of the year. Ecological overlap levels between fish species fluctuate greatly in the course of the season as species switch from, or move on to, different resources. Population levels in different habitats also vary seasonally. Species adaptations and interaction patterns were presumably evolved over a long period; most of these adaptations undoubtedly developed before the component species colonized the lake.


Annual cycle Centrarchidae Competition Cyprinidae Ecosystem Faunal origins Habitat Ictaluridae Percidae Seasonal periodicity 

Copyright information

© Dr. W. Junk Publishers 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Allen Keast
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyQueen's UniversityKingstonCanada

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