Inter- and size-specific patterns of fish seasonal migration between a shallow lake and its streams

Christian Skov, J. Brodersen, P.A. Nilsson, L.A. Hansson, C. Brönmark

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This study used passive telemetry (passive integrated transponders) to evaluate winter migration in three species of cyprinids (roach (Rutilus rutilus (L.)), white bream (Blicca bjoerkna (L.)) and rudd (Scardinius erythrophthalmus (L.))) and their potential predators (pike (Esox lucius (L.)) and perch (Perca fluviatilis (L.))) between a shallow lake and its streams. Migration patterns were investigated from October to June, and a substantial part of the roach (40%) and white bream (55%) populations tagged in the lake during autumn migrated during winter into the streams, whereas only very few piscivores (<2%) migrated. In contrast to roach and white bream, only few rudd (<6%) migrated, which is likely a consequence of different overwintering strategies, e.g., rudd overwintering in shallow highly structured habitats. Small rudd migrated more than larger rudd, whereas there were no size-differentiated migration patterns for roach or white bream. Migration of the cyprinid fishes was generally initiated in late October and ended in May, and specific synchronised bursts of migration were observed in December, January and April, suggesting that migration is triggered by one or more proximate environmental cues. The cyprinid fishes generally entered the streams in late afternoon or in the morning, depending on season, but overall migration patterns varied between the three streams. We suggest and discuss that our results have great implications for lake management as well as for the interpretation of seasonal trophic dynamics in shallow lakes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEcology of Freshwater Fish
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)406-415
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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