Javascript is not activated in your browser. This website needs javascript activated to work properly.
You are here

Effects of brown and turbid water on piscivore-prey fish interactions along a visibility gradient

  • Lynn Ranåker
  • Mikael Jönsson
  • Anders Nilsson
  • Christer Brönmark
Publishing year: 2012
Language: English
Pages: 1761-1768
Publication/Series: Freshwater Biology
Volume: 57
Issue: 9
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

Abstract english

1. Environmental changes such as eutrophication and increasing inputs of humic matter (brownification) may have strong effects on predatorprey interactions in lakes through a reduction in the visual conditions affecting foraging behaviour of visually oriented predators. 2. In this experiment, we studied the effects of visual range (25200 cm) in combination with optically deteriorating treatments (algae, clay or brown humic water) on predatorprey interactions between pike (Esox lucius) and roach (Rutilus rutilus). We measured effects on reaction distance and strike distance for pike and escape distance for roach, when pike individuals were exposed to free-swimming roach as well as to roach held in a glass cylinder. 3. We found that reaction distance decreased with decreasing visual range caused by increasing levels of algae, clay or humic matter. The effect of reaction distance was stronger in turbid water (clay, algae) than in the brown water treatment. 4. Strike distance was neither affected by visual range nor by optical treatment, but we found shorter strike distances when pike attacked roach using visual cues only (roach held in a cylinder) compared to when pike could use multiple senses (free-swimming roach). Escape distance for roach was longer in turbid than in brown water treatments. 5. Changes in environmental drivers, such as eutrophication and brownification, affecting the optical climate should thus have consequences for the strength of predatorprey interactions through changes in piscivore foraging efficiency and prey escape behaviour. This in turn may affect lake ecosystems through higher-order interactions.


  • Ecology
  • behaviour
  • escape distance
  • foraging
  • reaction distance
  • visual range


  • ISSN: 0046-5070
Anders Nilsson
E-mail: anders [dot] nilsson [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se


Division aquatic ecology

+46 46 222 83 65

+46 70 346 25 66




Aquatic Ecology


Research group

Aquatic Ecology


Doctoral students and postdocs

Main supervisor

Varpu Pärssinen

Assistant supervisor

Downloads & links