Migration has evolved as a strategy to maximise individual fitness in response to seasonally changing ecological and environmental conditions. However, migration can also incur costs, and quantifying these costs can provide important clues to the ultimate ecological forces that underpin migratory behaviour. A key emerging model to explain migration in many systems posits that migration is driven by seasonal changes to a predation/growth potential (p/g) trade-off that a wide range of animals face. In this study we assess a key assumption of this model for a common cyprinid partial migrant, the roach Rutilus rutilus, which migrates from shallow lakes to streams during winter. By sampling fish from stream and lake habitats in the autumn and spring and measuring their stomach fullness and diet composition, we tested if migrating roach pay a cost of reduced foraging when migrating. Resident fish had fuller stomachs containing more high quality prey items than migrant fish. Hence, we document a feeding cost to migration in roach, which adds additional support for the validity of the p/g model of migration in freshwater systems.
Chapman, B. B., Eriksen, A., Baktoft, H., Brodersen, J., Nilsson, P. A., Hulthen, K., Brönmark, C., Hansson, L-A., Grønkjær, P., & Skov, C. (2013). A foraging cost of migration for a partially migratory cyprinid fish. P L o S One, 8(5), e61223. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0061223