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Hydrobiologia

, 671:259 | Cite as

Density-dependent and inter-specific interactions affecting European eel settlement in freshwater habitats

  • Daniele Bevacqua
  • M. Andrello
  • P. Melià
  • S. Vincenzi
  • G. A. De Leo
  • A. J. Crivelli
Short research note

Abstract

Identifying the factors influencing the settlement of European eel (Anguilla anguilla) juveniles in continental habitats is crucial to designing effective management and conservation measures for this endangered species. A long-term data series (1993–2008) of European eel and European catfish (Silurus glanis) abundance in a freshwater canal of the Camargue water system (southern France), along with parallel data on water salinity and glass eel abundance in the adjacent Vaccarès lagoon, was analysed to identify the possible causes of decline in eel abundance observed in the canal during the last two decades. A model including glass eel recruitment and catfish abundance as covariates explained 78% of the observed variation in eel settlement success. Results suggest that (1) salinity does not play a significant role in determining the fraction of eels moving from the brackish lagoon to the canal; (2) density dependence affects settlement success, possibly through a reduction of juvenile survival in the adjacent lagoon; and (3) catfish abundance is negatively correlated with eel settlement. We discuss this latter point in terms of possible predation of catfish upon eels and/or inter-specific competition between the two species.

Keywords

Anguilla anguilla Interspecific competition Invasive species Population dynamics Silurus glanis 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors thank two anonymous referees and M. Gatto for valuable suggestions, and J. P. Lewin for the language revision of the manuscript. The authors are particularly grateful to the National Natural Reserve of the Camargue for providing salinity data, and to P. Chauvelon for providing data on air temperature. This study was supported by the Fondation Sansouire (Tour du Valat, France), and the Italian Ministry of Research (PRIN project # 2006054928 and Interlink project # II04CE49G8). D.B. is a post-doctoral researcher funded by project MARE 2008/11 Lot 2: ‘Pilot projects to estimate potential and actual escapement of silver eel’ supported by the European Commission.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniele Bevacqua
    • 1
  • M. Andrello
    • 2
  • P. Melià
    • 3
  • S. Vincenzi
    • 1
  • G. A. De Leo
    • 1
  • A. J. Crivelli
    • 4
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Scienze AmbientaliUniversità degli Studi di ParmaParmaItaly
  2. 2.Laboratoire d’Ecologie AlpineUniversité Joseph FourierGrenobleFrance
  3. 3.Dipartimento di Elettronica e InformazionePolitecnico di MilanoMilanItaly
  4. 4.Station Biologique de la Tour du ValatArlesFrance

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