Effects of fish predation on consumers tend to be particularly strong in oligotrophic Arctic and sub-Arctic lakes. However, it remains unclear whether the fish influence the trophic structure and dynamics of naturally eutrophic lakes in these cold environments with simple food web structures. To study this, we conducted a 3-month in situ-controlled experiment in sub-Arctic Lake Mývatn, Iceland. We used the planktivorous fish three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) as the main top predator. The cladocerans Eurycercus lamellatus and Acroperus harpae were significantly associated with fishless enclosures, whereas the rotifers Polyarthra sp. and Filinia terminalis were significantly associated with the fish enclosures. Fish predation led to a significant increase in phytoplankton biomass and a reduction in the zooplankton:phytoplankton biomass ratio, the mean zooplankton length and cladoceran mean biomass. Fish effects might have been stronger if a bloom of Anabaena in August had not overridden potential cascading effects. We argue that both top-down and bottom-up forces are important for structuring the communities in the lake. Our results suggest that Arctic and sub-Arctic lakes may undergo important changes in trophic dynamics if they get warmer and more nutrient rich as expected with the global climate change.
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We would like to thank Arnie Einarsson for his constant advice and assistance during fieldwork and for providing useful comments on this manuscript. We also want to thank the Mývatn Research Station (Iceland) for providing us with workspace and facilities to conduct this study. We would like to thank Elisabeth Badosa, Sergi Carrasco, Mariona Munné, Gisela Solà and Beatriz Tintoré for their hard work in the field and the laboratory. This project was supported by the Carlsberg Foundation (Project 2013_01_0535) and the MARS project (Managing Aquatic ecosystems and water Resources under multiple Stress) funded under the 7th EU Framework Programme, Theme 6 (Environment including Climate Change), Contract No.: 603378 (http://www.mars-project.eu). MC was supported by the People Program (Marie Curie Actions) of the Seventh Framework Program of the European Union (FP7/2007–2013) under grant agreement no. 600388 of REA (TECNIOspring Program) and the Agency for Competitiveness and Business of the Government of Catalonia, ACCIÓ. SB was supported by the Marie Curie Intra European Fellowship no. 330249 (CLIMBING) and by the project DFG, Me 1686/7-1. XQ’s contribution was supported by grants from the Spanish “Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación” (CGL2011-23907) and the Generalitat de Catalunya (Ref. 2014 SGR 484).We thank Anne Mette Poulsen for valuable editorial comments.
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Cañedo-Argüelles, M., Sgarzi, S., Arranz, I. et al. Role of predation in biological communities in naturally eutrophic sub-Arctic Lake Mývatn, Iceland. Hydrobiologia 790, 213–223 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-016-3031-0
- Arctic lakes
- Trophic cascade
- Predator control
- Resource control
- Fish predation
- Climate change