Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp 201–214 | Cite as

Fish community structure, spatial distribution and feeding ecology in a beaver pond

  • Allen Keast
  • Michael G. Fox
Full paper


The fish community of a small (2.7 ha) Ontario beaver pond was analyzed relative to predictions based on its small size, shallow depth, brief existence and isolation from more permanent water bodies. The predictions were: (1) species richness will be lower than that of more permanent water bodies in the area, (2) fish will be mainly of small body size, (3) species will be randomly distributed across habitats, and (4) there will be a high degree of diet overlap between species and age classes. The first and second predictions were supported. The pond consisted of 10 resident species in 1985, and at least seven in 1988. Species richness was below the average of 13.2 found in four lakes in the vicinity, but greater than the 3.1 predicted by a species-area curve for non-acidified lakes in Ontario. All species except pumpkinseed, yellow perch and brown bullheads were small-bodied with short life spans and high population turnover rates, and few fish above 100 mm were present. Predictions 3 and 4 were not supported. Habitat occupation was nonrandom, and high diet separation occurred, particularly in August when food limitation was evident. While beaver ponds lack the range of habitats and the diversity of species of lake environments, low prey density and high fish density nevertheless appear to foster resource partitioning.

Key words

Aquatic habitat Aquatic invertebrates Competition Cyprinids Growth Lepomis Prey resources Species richness 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Allen Keast
    • 1
  • Michael G. Fox
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyQueen's UniversityKingstonCanada

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