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Lefebvre F.,Station Biologique de la Tour du Valat
Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society | Year: 2013

Quantifying the fitness cost that parasites impose on wild hosts is a challenging task, because the epidemiological history of field-sampled hosts is often unknown. In this study, we used an internal marker of the parasite pressure on individual hosts to evaluate the costs of parasitism with respect to host body condition, size increase and reproductive potential of field-collected animals for which we also determined individual age. In our investigated system, the European eel Anguilla anguilla and the parasitic invader Anguillicoloides crassus, high virulence and severe impacts are expected because the host lacks an adaptive immune response. We demonstrated a nonlinear relationship between the severity of damage to the affected organ (i.e. the swimbladder, our internal marker) and parasite abundance and biomass, thus showing that the use of classical epidemiological parameters was not relevant here. Surprisingly, we found that the most severely affected eels (with damaged swimbladder) had greater body length and mass (+11% and +41%, respectively), than unaffected eels of same age. We discuss mechanisms that could explain this finding and other counterintuitive results in this host-parasite system, and highlight the likely importance of host panmixia in generating great inter-individual variability in growth potential and infection risk. Under that scenario, the most active foragers would not only have the greatest size increase, but also the highest probability of becoming repeatedly infected-via trophic parasite transmission-during their continental life. Source

Vincenzi S.,University of Parma | Crivelli A.J.,Station Biologique de la Tour du Valat | Jesensek D.,Tolmin Angling Association | De Leo G.A.,University of Parma
Ecology of Freshwater Fish | Year: 2010

Density-dependent body growth has often been observed in freshwater salmonid populations. Several studies suggest this compensatory pattern as a potential mechanism of population regulation. The choice of the spatial scale is important for the detection of density-dependent growth, as study areas need to be of the appropriate size to capture the density of conspecifics actually experienced by individuals over the preceding growth period. Here, we used four marble trout (Salmo marmoratus) populations (Gatsnik, Gorska, Huda and Zakojska) living in Slovenian stream to study the relationships between early density of marble trout and subsequent body growth. As streams are divided in sectors delimited by natural barriers that prevent or strongly limit movement of individuals, we tested the relationship between early density and body size through the lifetime at two spatial scales, that is, sector level (for Gatsnik and Zakojska) and whole stream level (the four populations were pooled). Sector length in Gatsnik and Zakojska ranged from 113 to 516 m. At both sector and whole stream level, temporal data were pooled. Growth declined significantly with increasing density both at the sector and whole stream levels, and the density-dependent relationship was described by negative power curves. However, at the sector level the density-dependent pattern was stronger in Gatsnik, a stream in which fish could move across sectors, than in Zakojska, where upstream movement across sectors is prevented by waterfalls. © 2010 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Source

Vincenzi S.,University of California at Santa Cruz | Crivelli A.J.,Station Biologique de la Tour du Valat | Jesensek D.,Tolmin Angling Association | de Leo G.A.,University of Parma
Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries | Year: 2012

Translocation programs are a common strategy to increase the number of viable populations of threatened freshwater fishes. Yet, only in a minority of cases the success or failure of translocations has been assessed through a quantitative analysis of demographic traits, compensatory responses, life-histories and population dynamics of the threatened species. A paradigmatic case a translocation program combining both management- and research-oriented activities is represented by the Marble Trout Conservation Program, which started in 1993 in the upper reaches of the Soca, Idirjca and Baca river basins (Slovenia) for the conservation of stream-dwelling marble trout Salmo marmoratus. In order to enhance the viability of the species, two new populations were created in 1996 by stocking 500 marble trout aged 1+ in previously fishless streams (Gorska and Zakojska) within the core habitat of the species. The new populations have been systematically monitored for 15 years by individually tagging and sampling marble trout. Our analyses show that deterministic extinction of marble trout populations are unlikely and that high-magnitude environmental stochasticity (i.e., severe floods) is the only main cause of local population extinction, despite the high resilience to flood-induced massive mortalities exhibited by marble trout through compensatory mechanisms (e.g., relaxation of density-dependent body growth and survival at low densities). Fishless headwaters, probably characterized by a history of recurrent severe floods, should not be considered as candidate sites for the creation of new populations. Fewer individuals than originally reintroduced (i.e., 500 fish aged 1+ in each stream) might be sufficient to establish viable populations, since compensatory mechanisms are likely to regulate population size around stream carrying capacity in a few years. Besides enhancing the species viability, translocation programs can provide an excellent framework for the estimation of ecological traits (e.g., life-histories, demography, population dynamics etc.), identify potential vulnerabilities and thus guide well-formed management actions for the threatened species. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V. Source

Martino A.,Ecolab | Syvaranta J.,Ecolab | Syvaranta J.,Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries | Crivelli A.,Station Biologique de la Tour du Valat | And 2 more authors.
Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems | Year: 2011

European eel (Anguilla anguilla) is recognized as a critically endangered species in the northern hemisphere. Threats such as overfishing or pollution are well known as risks for eel populations. However, much less is known about the impact of introduced fish on European eels. In particular, introduced large-bodied predators could become new predators to eels. The potential impact of European catfish (Silurus glanis L) on an eel population in the Camargue, southern France was studied using a combination of stable isotope and gut content analyses. Only large-bodied catfish (>500mm) can consume numerous fish prey. However, catfish mostly consumed crayfish (Procambarus clarkii), these prey items being found in 79% of the guts of the largest individuals. Eel was absent from the dissected catfish guts. A mixing model based on Bayesian inference revealed that catfish diet included only 5% (0-8.5%) of marine sources (both eel and mullet). While local economic interests prompted ecological studies to assess whether catfish exerted a new and strong predatory pressure on eel, this study found that European catfish behaved as an opportunistic omnivore, and as such was not a direct threat as a predator on eel populations in the Camargue. © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Source

Vincenzi S.,University of Parma | Crivelli A.J.,Station Biologique de la Tour du Valat | Jesensek D.,Tolmin Angling Association | Rossi G.,University of Parma | De Leo G.A.,University of Parma
Naturwissenschaften | Year: 2011

To understand the consequences of the invasion of the nonnative rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss on the native marble trout Salmo marmoratus, we compared two distinct headwater sectors where marble trout occur in allopatry (MTa) or sympatry (MTs) with rainbow trout (RTs) in the Idrijca River (Slovenia). Using data from field surveys from 2002 to 2009, with biannual (June and September) sampling and tagging from June 2004 onwards, we analyzed body growth and survival probabilities of marble trout in each stream sector. Density of age-0 in September over the study period was greater for MTs than MTa and very similar between MTs and RTs, while density of trout ≥age-1 was similar for MTa and MTs and greater than density of RTs. Monthly apparent survival probabilities were slightly higher in MTa than in MTs, while RTs showed a lower survival than MTs. Mean weight of marble and rainbow trout aged 0+ in September was negatively related to cohort density for both marble and rainbow trout, but the relationship was not significantly different between MTs and MTa. No clear depression of body growth of sympatric marble trout between sampling intervals was observed. Despite a later emergence, mean weight of RTs cohorts at age 0+ in September was significantly higher than weight of both MTs and MTa. The establishment of a self-sustaining population of rainbow trout does not have a significant impact on body growth and survival probabilities of sympatric marble trout. The numerical dominance of rainbow trout in streams at lower altitudes seem to suggest that while the low summer flow pattern of Slovenian streams is favorable for rainbow trout invasion, the adaptation of marble trout to headwater environments may limit the invasion success of rainbow trout in headwaters. © 2010 Springer-Verlag. Source

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