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Ontogeny and dietary specialization in brown trout (Salmo trutta L.) from Loch Ness, Scotland, examined using stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>09/2001
<mark>Journal</mark>Ecology of Freshwater Fish
Issue number3
Volume10
Number of pages9
Pages (from-to)168-176
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

The trophic ecology of many fish species in cold temperate lakes is often characterized by a generalist or opportunist strategy. In this study, the diets of polytrophic brown trout in Loch Ness, Scotland, have been examined using stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen to complement gut content analyses and aging by otolith annuli counts. Using the stable isotope ratios, it was possible to trace trout ontogeny from parr development in a natal river to piscivory in the pelagic. Potential dilution of maternal isotope signatures from eggs to parr was also demonstrated. Despite the low productivity of the loch, intraspecific variability in isotope ratios suggested dietary specialization, rather than opportunism, in some individuals.