, Volume 92, Issue 2, pp 91–94 | Cite as

Effects of phytoplankton-induced turbidity on predation success of piscivorous Eurasian perch (Perca fluviatilis): possible implications for fish community structure in lakes

  • Robert J. RadkeEmail author
  • Annegret Gaupisch
Short Communication


Turbidity can strongly influence predation success of visually oriented fish, especially piscivores such as adult Eurasian perch (Perca fluviatilis). This purely carnivorous species usually becomes a facultative piscivore after two discrete food niche shifts. Perch biomass has been observed to decrease in lakes along the productivity gradient, and then be replaced by cyprinids in non-manipulated eutrophic systems. Until now, this change has been mainly attributed to the competitive superiority of cyprinids for zooplankton prey during the juvenile phase of perch, while the piscivorous phase—as a possible factor influencing the recruitment success of perch—has been neglected. As the abundance of suitably sized prey fish should not be limiting in highly productive systems, we hypothesise that the switch from benthivorous feeding to preying on fish is inhibited by the reduced visibility in eutrophic lakes. We tested this hypothesis in laboratory experiments, where perch were fed two size classes of juvenile cyprinids at different phytoplankton- and bentonite-induced turbidity levels. Predation success was significantly influenced by turbidity level and turbidity source, but not by prey size. These experimental results suggest for the first time that piscivory of Eurasian perch is negatively influenced by different sources of turbidity, and hence low visibility might delay the onset of the food niche shift to fish prey.


Phytoplankton Turbidity Largemouth Bass Prey Size Yellow Perch 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank Uwe Kahl for his help in sampling the fish in the field. We are further grateful to Firma Erbslöh (Geisenheim, Germany) for providing us with samples of bentonite for the experiments. The study was supported by the Landestalsperrenverwaltung des Freistaates Sachsen. All experiments were done in compliance with the German animal welfare regulations


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of HydrobiologyDresden University of TechnologyDresdenGermany

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