Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Influence of submerged aquatic vegetation on size class distribution of perch (Perca fluviatilis) and roach (Rutilus rutilus) in the littoral zone of Lake Geneva (Switzerland)

  • 75 Accesses

  • 10 Citations


The abundance of different size classes of perch and roach in the littoral zone of Lake Geneva was compared between submerged aquatic vegetation and unvegetated zones. Samples were taken with gillnets during four periods between June and October 1993. During the vegetation period (June to September), perch ≤9 cm and roach ≤10 cm were more abundant in vegetation whereas roach > 20 cm were more abundant in open water. Perch larger than 18 cm and medium roach were equally distributed in both habitats whatever the period, whereas medium perch distribution fluctuated according to the period. In October, after the decline of the vegetation, no more differences in fish distribution were observed except for small roach, which were always more abundant in the “vegetated sites”.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Benson, B. J. and J. J. Magnuson, 1992. Spatial heterogeneity of littoral fish assemblages in lakes: relation to species diversity and habitat structure. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 49:1493–1500.

  2. Bergman, E., 1990. Effects of roachRutilus rutilus on 2 percids,Perca fluviatilis andGymnocephalus cernua — Importance of species interaction for diet shifts. Oikos 57:241–249.

  3. Blanc, P., C. Corvi and F. Rapin, 1994. Evolution physico-chimique des eaux du Léman. Campagne 1990. In: Rapports sur les études et recherches entreprises dans le bassin lémanique. Campagne 1993. Commission internationale pour la protection des eaux du Léman, Lausanne, pp. 36–61.

  4. Braband, Å. and B. Faafeng, 1993. Habitat shift in roach (Rutilus rutilus) induced by pikeperch (Stizostedion lucioperca) introduction: predation risk versus pelagic behaviour. Oecologia 95:38–46.

  5. Burchmore, J. J., D. A. Pollard and J. D. Bell, 1984. Community structure and trophic relationships of the fish fauna of an estuarinePosidonia australis seagrass habitat in Port Hacking, New South Wales. Aquat. Bot. 18:71–87.

  6. Büttiker, B., 1984. Faune piscicole. In: Le Léman. Synthèse 1957–1982. Commission internationale pour la protection des eaux du Léman, Lausanne, pp. 315–323.

  7. Chessel, D. and S. Dolédec, 1992. ADE Software. Multivariate Analysis and Graphical Display for Environmental Data. Vol. 1. User's Manual (in English), Vol. 2. Examples (in French), Vol. 3. Graphics Documentation (in French). Université Lyon I, France, 523 pp.

  8. Coles, T. F., 1981. The distribution of perch,Perca fluviatilis L. throughout their first year of life in Llyn Tegid, North Wales. J. Fish. Biol. 18:15–30.

  9. Conover, W. J. and R. L. Iman, 1981. Rank transformations as a bridge between parametric and non parametric statistics. Amer. Stat. 35:124–129.

  10. Conrow, R., A. V. Zale and R. W. Gregory, 1990. Distributions and abundances of early life stages of fishes in a Florida lake dominated by aquatic macrophytes. Trans. Amer. Fish. Soc. 119:521–528.

  11. Craig, J. F., 1987. The biology of perch and related fishes. Croom Helm London and Sydney, Timber Press Portland, Oregon, 333 pp.

  12. Crowder, L. B. and W. E. Cooper, 1979. Structural complexity and fish-prey interactions in ponds: a point of view. In: D. L. Johnson and R. A. Stein (eds), Response of fish to habitat structure in standing water, North Central Division American Fisheries Society, Special Publication, pp. 2–10.

  13. Dewey, M. R., L. E. Holland-Bartels and S. J. Zigler, 1989. Comparison of fish catches with buoyant pop nets and seines in vegetated and nonvegetated habitats. N. Am. J. Fish. Mgmt 9:249–253.

  14. Dolédec, S. and D. Chessel, 1989. Rythmes saisonniers et composantes stationnelles en milieu aquatique. II. Prise en compte et élimination d'effets dans un tableau faunistique. Acta Oecologica 10:207–232.

  15. Dolédec, S. and D. Chessel, 1991. Recent developments in linear ordination methods for environmental sciences. Advances in Ecology 1:133–155.

  16. Gelwick, F. P. and W.J. Matthews, 1990. Temporal and spatial patterns in littoral-zone fish assemblages of a reservoir (Lake Texoma, Oklahoma-Texas, U.S.A.). Env. Biol. Fish. 27:107–120.

  17. Gillinsky, E., 1984. The role of fish predation and spatial heterogeneity in determining benthic community structure. Ecology 65:455–468.

  18. Gotceitas, V. and P. Golgan, 1987. Selection between densities of artificial vegetation by young bluegills avoiding predation. Trans. Amer. Fish. Soc. 116:40–49.

  19. Gregg, W. W. and F. L. Rose, 1985. Influence of aquatic macrophytes on invertebrate community structure, guild structure and microdistribution in streams. Hydrobiologia 128:45–56.

  20. Hall, D. J. and E. E. Werner, 1977. Seasonal distribution and abundance of fishes in the littoral zone of a Michigan lake. Trans. Amer. Fish. Soc. 106:545–555.

  21. Hamley, J. M., 1975. Review of gill net selectivity. J. Fish. Res. Board Can. 32:1943–1969.

  22. Hartmann, J., 1992. Cannibalistic perch of Lake Constance. Oesterr. Fisch. 45:51–54.

  23. Hartmann, J. and H. Loeffler, 1978. Saisonale bodennahe Verteilung von Fischen im eutrophierten Bodensee. Arch. Hydrobiol. 83:69–79.

  24. Hartmann, J. and H. Loeffler, 1989. Tiefenverteilung der Fische des Bodensees. Oesterr. Fisch. 42:236–240.

  25. Holt, S. A., C. L. Kitting and C. R. Arnold, 1983. Distribution of young red drums among different sea-grass meadows. Trans. Am. Fish. Soc. 112:267–271.

  26. Jamet, J.-L., 1994. Feeding activity of adult roach (Rutilus rutilus (L.)), perch (Perca fluviatilis L.) and ruffe (Gymnocephalus cernuus (L.)) in eutrophic Lake Aydat (France). Aquat. Sci. 56:376–387.

  27. Keast, A., 1984. The introduced aquatic macrophyte,M. spicatum, as a habitat for fish and their invertebrate prey. Can. J. Zool. 62:1289–1303.

  28. Keast, A., J. Harker and D. Turnbull, 1978. Nearshore fish habitat utilization and species associations in Lake Opinicon (Ontario, Canada). Env. Biol. Fish. 3:173–184.

  29. Killgore, K. J., R. P. Morgan and N. B. Rybicki, 1989. Distribution and abundance of fishes associated with submersed aquatic plants in the Potomac river. N. Am. J. Fish. Mgmt 9:101–111.

  30. Lachavanne, J.-B. and Wattenhofer, R., 1975. Les macrophytes du Léman. Conservatoire botanique de Genève et Commission internationale pour la protection des eaux des Léman contre la pollution, Genève, 147 pp.

  31. Lachavanne, J.-B., R. Juge and A. Noetzlin, 1986. Evolution de la végétation aquatique des rives genevoises du Léman (1972–1984). Sciences de l'eau 5:419–433.

  32. Lagler, K. F., 1978. Capture, sampling, and examination of fishes. In: T. Bagenal (ed.), Methods for assessment of fish production in fresh water. Blackwell Scientific Publ., London, pp. 7–47.

  33. Lang, C., 1987. Mortality of perch,Perca fluviatilis L., estimated from the size and abundance of egg strands. J. Fish Biol. 31:715–720.

  34. Lehmann, A., J.-M. Jaquet and J.-B. Lachavanne, 1994. Contribution of GIS to submerged macrophyte biomass estimation and community structure modeling, Lake Geneva, Switzerland. Aquat. Bot. 47:99–117.

  35. Lubbers, L., W. R. Boynton and W. M. Kemp, 1990. Variations in structure of estuarine fish communities in relation to abundance of submersed vascular plants. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 65:1–14.

  36. Mikheev, V.N., 1986. Selective feeding of young perch,Perca fluviatilis, in macrophyte vegetation. J. Icht. 25:52–57.

  37. Nelson, W. G. and E. Bonsdorf, 1990. Fish predation and habitat complexity: Are complexity threshold real? J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 141:183–194.

  38. Orth, R. J. and K. L. Heck Jr., 1980. Structural components of eelgrass meadows in the lower Chesapeake Bay-Fishes. Estuaries 3:278–288.

  39. Orth, R. J., K. L. Heck, Jr. and J. van Montfrans, 1984. Faunal communities in seagrass beds: a review of the influence of plant structure and prey characteristics on predator-prey relationships. Estuaries 7:339–350.

  40. Paller, M. H., 1987. Distribution of larval fish between macrophytes beds and open channels in a southeastern floodplain swamp. J. Freshwater Ecol. 4:191–200.

  41. Persson, L., 1983. Food consumption and competition between age classes in perchPerca fluviatilis populations in a shallow eutrophic lake. Oikos 40:197–207.

  42. Persson, L., 1987a. The effect of resource availability and distribution on size class interactions in perch,Perca fluviatilis. Oikos 48:148–160.

  43. Persson, L., 1987b. Effects of habitat and season on competitive interactions between roach (Rutilus rutilus) and perch (Perca fluviatilis). Oecologia 73:170–177.

  44. Persson, L., 1987c. Competition-induced diet switch in young-of-the-year perch,Perca fluviatilis: An experimental test of resource limitation. Env. Biol. Fish. 19:235–239.

  45. Persson, L., 1991. Behavioural response to predators reverses the outcome of competition between prey species. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 28:101–105.

  46. Persson, L., 1993. Predator-mediated competition in prey refuge: the importance of habitat dependant prey resource. Oikos 68:12–22.

  47. Persson, L. and L. A. Greenberg, 1990a. Juvenile competitive bottlenecks: the perch-roach interaction. Ecology 71:44–56.

  48. Persson, L. and L. A. Greenberg, 1990b. Interspecific and intraspecific size class competition affecting resource use and growth of perchPerca fluviatilis. Oikos 59:97–106.

  49. Rabe, F. W. and F. Gibson, 1984. The effect of macrophyte removal on the distribution of selected invertebrates in a littoral environment. J. Freshwater Ecol. 2:359–371.

  50. Rossier, O., 1995. Spatial and temporal separation of littoral zone fishes of Lake Geneva (Switzerland-France). Hydrobiologia 300/301:321–327.

  51. Rozas, L. P. and W. E. Odum, 1987. Fish and macrocrustacean use of submerged plant beds in tidal freshwater marsh creeks. Mar. Ecol.-Progr. Ser. 38:101–108.

  52. Rozas, L. P. and W. E. Odum, 1988. Occupation of submerged aquatic vegetation by fishes — testing the role of food and refuge. Oecologia 77:101–106.

  53. Savino, J. F. and R. A. Stein, 1982. Predator-prey interaction between largemouth bass and bluegills as influenced by simulated submerged vegetation. Trans. Amer. Fish. Soc. 111:255–266.

  54. Sogard, S. M., G. V.N. Powell and J. G. Holmquist, 1989. Utilization by fishes of shallow, seagrasscovered banks in Florida Bay: 1. Species composition and spatial heterogeneity. Envir. Biol. Fish. 24:53–65.

  55. Stang, D. L. and W. A. Hubert, 1984. Spatial separation of fishes captured in passive gear in a turbid prairie lake. Env. Biol. Fish. 11:309–314.

  56. Stoner, A. W., 1983. Distribution of fishes in seagrass meadows: role of macrophyte biomass and species composition. Fish. Bull. 81:837–846.

  57. Thioulouse, J., 1990. MacMul and GraphMu: two Macintosh programs for the display and analysis of multivariate data. Computers and Geosciences 16:1235–1240.

  58. Thorpe, J. E., 1974. Trout and perch populations at Loch Leven, Kinross. Proc. R. Soc. Edinburgh 74:295–313.

  59. Wang, N. and R. Eckmann, 1994. Distribution of perch (Perca fluviatilis L.) during their first year of life in Lake Constance. Hydrobiologia 277:135–143.

  60. Wanjala, B. S., J. C. Tash, W. J. Matter and C. D. Ziebell, 1986. Food and habitat use by different sizes of largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) in Alamo lake, Arizona. J. Freshwater Ecol. 3:359–369.

  61. Werner, E. E., D. J. Hall, D. R. Laughlin, D. J. Wagner, L. A. Wilsmann and F. C. Funk, 1977. Habitat partitioning in a freshwater fish community. J. Fish. Res. Board Can. 34:360–370.

  62. Werner, E. E., D. J. Hall and M. D. Werner, 1978. Littoral zone fish communities of two Florida Lakes and a comparison with Michigan Lakes. Env. Biol. Fish. 3:163–172.

  63. Werner, E. F., J. F. Gilliam, D. J. Hall and G. G. Mittelbach, 1983. An experimental test of the effects of predation on habitat use in fish. Ecology 30:55–75.

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Rossier, O., Castella, E. & Lachavanne, J. Influence of submerged aquatic vegetation on size class distribution of perch (Perca fluviatilis) and roach (Rutilus rutilus) in the littoral zone of Lake Geneva (Switzerland). Aquatic Science 58, 1–14 (1996).

Download citation

Key words

  • Perca fluviatilis
  • Rutilus rutilus
  • littoral
  • habitat selection
  • aquatic vegetation
  • Lake Geneva