Skip to main content

Impact of the invasive three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) on relative abundance and growth of native pelagic whitefish (Coregonus wartmanni) in Upper Lake Constance

Abstract

Since 2013, the pelagic zone of Upper Lake Constance (ULC) has been subject to a massive invasion of the non-native three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus Linnaeus, 1758). Data from monthly monitoring of pelagic whitefish (Coregonus wartmanni Bloch, 1784) were used to compare weight-at-age and abundance of pelagic whitefish for years before (1997–2012) and after the invasion (2013–2015). Growth and abundance of pelagic whitefish is shown to be heavily influenced by stickleback presence. Mean autumn weight-at-age of whitefish decreased by 33.3% after the invasion took place and a significant decline in autumn CPUE in otherwise unfished cohorts of the population was also recorded. The results imply direct effects of stickleback presence on pelagic whitefish, including interspecific competition for food leading to reduced growth and survival, and predation of eggs and larvae, hampering recruitment. These observations coincide with a sharp decline in whitefish yield. In conclusion, this study shows that the invasion of stickleback has substantially altered the pelagic fish community of ULC, with severe consequences for commercial fisheries.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5

References

  • Alexander, T. J., P. Vonlanthen, G. Périat, J.-C. Raymond, F. Degiorgi & O. Seehausen, 2016. Artenvielfalt und Zusammensetzung der Fischpopulation im Bodensee. Projet Lac, Eawag.

    Google Scholar 

  • Baer, J., R. Eckmann, R. Rösch, R. Arlinghaus & A. Brinker, 2016. Managing Upper Lake Constance fishery in a multi-sector policy landscape: beneficiary and victim of a century of anthropogenic trophic change. In Song, A. M., S. D. Bower, P. Onyango, S. J. Cooke & R. Chuenpagdee (eds), Inter-Sectoral Governance of Inland Fisheries. TBTI Publication Series, Canada.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bergström, U., J. Olsson, M. Casini, B. K. Eriksson, R. Fredriksson, H. Wennhage & M. Appelberg, 2015. Stickleback increase in the Baltic Sea – a thorny issue for coastal predatory fish. Estuarine Coastal Shelf Sciences 163: 134–142.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Brown Jr., E. H., R. N. Argyle, R. N. Payne & M. E. Holey, 1987. Yield and dynamics of destabilized chub (Coregonus spp.) populations in lakes Michigan and Huron. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 44: 371–383.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Byström, P., U. Bergström, A. Hjälten, S. Ståhl, D. Jonsson & J. Olsson, 2015. Declining coastal piscivore populations in the Baltic Sea: where and when do sticklebacks matter? AMBIO 44: 462–471.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Delbeek, J. C. & D. D. Williams, 1988. Feeding selectivity of four species of sympatric stickleback in brackish-water habitats in eastern Canada. Journal of Fish Biology 32: 41–62.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Eckmann, R. & R. Rösch, 1998. Lake Constance fisheries and fish ecology. Advances Limnology 53: 285–301.

    Google Scholar 

  • Eckmann, R., M. Kugler & C. Ruhlé, 2007. Evaluating the success of large-scale whitefish stocking at Lake Constance. Advances Limnology 60: 361–368.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gerdeaux, D., O. Anneville & D. Hefti, 2006. Fishery changes during the re-oligotrophication in 11 peri-alpine Swiss and French lakes over the past 30 years. Acta Oecologia 30: 161–167.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gotceitas, V. & J. A. Brown, 1993. Risk of predation to fish larvae in the presence of alternative prey: effects of prey size and number. Marine Ecololgy Progress Series 98: 215.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hanselmann, A. J., 2011. A review of spatio-temporal patterns of the colonisation of Lake Constance with alien Macrozoobenthos. Lauterbornia 72: 131–148.

    Google Scholar 

  • Heins, D. C., E. L. Birden & J. A. Baker, 2010. Host mortality and variability in epizootics of Schistocephalus solidus infecting the threespine stickleback, Gasterosteus aculeatus. Parasitology 137: 1681–1686.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Houston, A. I., J. M. McNamara, Z. Barta & K. C. Klasing, 2007. The effect of energy reserves and food availability on optimal immune defence. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 274: 2835–2842.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hurst, T. P., 2007. Causes and consequences of winter mortality in fishes. Journal of Fish Biology 71: 315–345.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hynes, H. B. N., 1950. The food of fresh-water sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus and Pygosteus pungitius), with a review of methods used in studies of the food of fishes. Journal of Animal Ecology 19: 36–58.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • IBKF, 2016. Internationale Bevollmächtigtenkonferenz für die Bodenseefischerei. [available on internet at http://www.ibkf.org/aktuelles/gesamtbericht/]. Access in June. 2016.

  • Javaid, M. Y. & J. M. Anderson, 1967. Thermal acclimation and temperature selection in Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar and rainbow trout, Salmo gairdneri. Journal of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada 93: 137–145.

    Google Scholar 

  • Jeppesen, E., M. Sondergaard, J. P. Jensen, K. E. Havens, O. Anneville, L. Carvalho, M. F. Coveney, R. Deneke, M. T. Dokulil, B. Foy, D. Gerdeaux, S. E. Hampton, S. Hilt, K. Kangur, J. Köhler, E. H. H. R. Lammens, T. L. Lauridsen, M. Manca, M. R. Miracle, B. Moss, P. Noges, G. Persson, G. Phillips, R. Portielje, S. Romo, C. L. Schelske, D. Straile, I. Tatrai, E. Willen & M. Winder, 2005. Lake responses to reduced nutrient loading – an analysis of contemporary long-term data from 35 case studies. Freshwater Biology 5: 1747–1771.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jeppesen, E., M. Meerhoff, T. A. Davidson, D. Trolle, M. Sondergaard, T. L. Lauridsen, M. Beklioglu, S. Brucet, P. Volta, I. Gonzales-Bergonzoni & A. Nielsen, 2014. Climate change impacts on lakes: an integrated ecological perspective based on a multi-faceted approach, with special focus on shallow lakes. Journal of Limnology 73: 88–111.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kean-Howie, J. C., S. Pearre Jr. & L. M. Dickie, 1988. Experimental predation by sticklebacks on larval mackerel and protection of fish larvae by zooplankton alternative prey. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 124: 239–259.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kuparinen, A. & J. Merilä, 2007. Detecting and managing fisheries induced evolution. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 22: 652–659.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Manica, A., 2002. Filial cannibalism in teleost fish. Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society 77: 261–277.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Manzer, J. I., 1976. Distribution, food, and feeding of the threespine stickleback, Gasterosteus aculeatus, in Great Central Lake, Vancouver Island, with comments on competition for food with juvenile sockey salmon, Oncorhynchus nerka. Fisheries Bulletin 74: 647–668.

    Google Scholar 

  • Marques, D. A., K. Lucek, J. I. Meier, S. Mwaiko, C. E. Wagner, L. Excoffier & O. Seehausen, 2016. Genomics of rapid incipient speciation in sympatric threespine stickleback. PLOS Genetics 12: e1005887.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mehlis, M., T. C. M. Bakker, L. Engqvist & J. G. Frommen, 2010. To eat or not to eat: egg-based assessment of paternity triggers fine-tuned decisions about filial cannibalism. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 277: 2627–2635.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Müller, R., M. Breitenstein, M. M. Bia, C. Rellstab & A. Kirchhofer, 2007. Bottom–up control of whitefish populations in ultra-oligotrophic Lake Brienz. Aquatic Sciences 69: 271–288.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nümann, W., 1972. The Bodensee: effects of exploitation and eutrophication on the salmonid community. Journal of Fisheries Research Board Canada 29: 833–847.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Roch, S., L. von Ammon, J. Geist & A. Brinker, submitted. Foraging habits of invasive three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) – impacts on fisheries yield in Upper Lake Constance.

  • Rösch, R., 2014. Lake Constance fish and fisheries. In Welcomme, R. L., J. Valbo-Jorgensen & A. S. Halls (eds) Inland Fisheries Evolution and Management – Case Studies from Four Continents, FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Technical Paper 579: 21–31.

  • Roesti, M., B. Kueng, D. Moser & D. Berner, 2015. The genomics of ecological vicariance in threespine stickleback fish. Nature Communications 6: 8767.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sachs, L., 1997. Angewandte Statistik. Springer, Berlin.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Sakai, A. K., F. W. Allendorf, J. S. Holt, D. M. Lodge, J. Molofsky, K. A. With, S. Baughman, R. J. Cabin, J. E. Cohen, N. C. Ellstrand, D. E. McCauley, P. O’Neil, I. M. Parker, J. N. Thompson & S. G. Weller, 2001. The population biology of invasive species. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics 32: 305–332.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Smith, C. & P. Reay, 1991. Cannibalism in teleost fish. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries 1: 41–64.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Stich, H. B. & A. Brinker, 2010. Oligotrophication outweighs effects of global warming in a large, deep, stratified lake ecosystem. Global Change Biology 16: 877–888.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Straile, D. & W. Geller, 1998. Crustacean zooplankton in Lake Constance from 1920 to 1995: response to eutrophication and re-oligotrophication. Advances Limnology 53: 255–274.

    Google Scholar 

  • Straile, D., R. Eckmann, T. Jüngling, G. Thomas & H. Löffler, 2007. Influence of climatic variability on whitefish (Coregonus lavaretus) year-class strength in a deep, warm monomictic lake. Oecologia 151: 521–529.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Thomas, G., R. Rösch & R. Eckmann, 2010. Seasonal and long-term changes in fishing depth of Lake Constance whitefish. Fisheries Management and Ecology 17: 386–393.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Underwood, A. J., 1997. Experiments in Ecology – Their Logical Design and Interpretation Using Analysis of Variance. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: 504.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wahl, B. & F. Peeters, 2014. Effect of climatic changes on stratification and deep-water renewal in Lake Constance assessed by sensitivity studies with a 3D hydrodynamic model. Limnology and Oceanography 59: 1035–1052.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wanke, T., U. Brämick & T. Mehner, 2016. Early detection of reproduction deficits and the compensatory potential of enhancement stocking for vendace, Coregonus albula, fisheries in German lakes. Fisheries Management and Ecology 22: 55–65.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Winfield, I. J., C. Baigún, A. Pavel, P. A. Balykin, B. Becker, Y. Chen, A. N. Filipe, Y. V. Gerasimov, A. L. Godinho, R. M. Hughes, J. D. Koehn, D. N. Kutsyn, V. Mendoza-Portillo, T. Oberdorff, A. M. Orlov, A. P. Pedchenko, P. Pletterbauer, I. G. Prado, R. Rösch & S. J. Vatland, 2016. International perspectives on the effects of climate change on inland fisheries. Fisheries 41: 399–405.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Zeheter, M., 2015. Order in the Lake: managing the sustainability of the Lake Constance fisheries, 1350–1900. Environment and History 21: 597–629.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Zimmermann, M. A. & C. C. Krueger, 2009. An ecosystem perspective on re-establishing native deepwater fishes in the Laurentian Great Lakes. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 29: 1352–1371.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Roland Rösch.

Additional information

Guest editors: Nico Salmaso, Orlane Anneville, Dietmar Straile & Pierluigi Viaroli / Large and deep perialpine lakes: ecological functions and resource management

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Rösch, R., Baer, J. & Brinker, A. Impact of the invasive three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) on relative abundance and growth of native pelagic whitefish (Coregonus wartmanni) in Upper Lake Constance. Hydrobiologia 824, 243–254 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-017-3479-6

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-017-3479-6

Keywords

  • Fisheries yield
  • Decreased stock
  • Predation
  • Interspecific competition