, Volume 652, Issue 1, pp 337–347 | Cite as

Dwarfs and cannibals in the Arctic: production of Arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus (L.)) at two trophic levels

  • Ole K. Berg
  • Anders G. Finstad
  • Per H. Olsen
  • Jo Vegar Arnekleiv
  • Kjell Nilssen
Primary research paper


Due to extensive cannibalism, Arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus (L.)) often represent the two highest trophic levels in Arctic freshwater ecosystem where Arctic char often is the only freshwater fish present. There is a general lack of char stock size and production estimates from Arctic lakes although high catchability and late maturation of large piscivorous individuals raise considerable management challenges because large growing forms are a valued resource. Here, we use mark-recapture to estimate the biomass of both invertebrate feeding dwarfs (60–150 mm) and their cannibalistic conspecifics (>150 mm) in a small Arctic lake at Bear Island (74.5°N, 19.0°E; 11.3 ha; mean depth 1.8 m). Biomass was 10.1 and 2.0 kg ha−1 and production was 2.1 and 0.5 kg ha−1 yr−1 for dwarfs and cannibals, respectively. All the production of invertebrate feeding small char was removed by the cannibals. The low production of the Arctic lake ecosystems combined with high catchability of large piscivorous char indicates that these stocks may be particularly vulnerable to exploitation. We finally point out the similarity between Arctic and sub-arctic alpine populations of Arctic char in production and life-history parameters.


Exploitation Sport fishing harvest Conservation biology 



We thank the staffs at Bjørnøya Meterological station and at the Norwegian Coast Guard for logistic support and Jarl Koksvik and Torbjørn Ekrem for species identification of zooplankton and chironomids. Financial support was provided by the Norwegian National Committee on Polar Research, the Norwegian Research Council and the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research. The study was carried out with permission from the Governor of Svalbard and according to national regulations for the treatment and welfare of experimental animals.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ole K. Berg
    • 1
  • Anders G. Finstad
    • 2
  • Per H. Olsen
    • 1
  • Jo Vegar Arnekleiv
    • 3
  • Kjell Nilssen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyNorwegian University of Science and TechnologyTrondheimNorway
  2. 2.Norwegian Institute of Nature ResearchTrondheimNorway
  3. 3.Department of Natural HistoryNorwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)TrondheimNorway

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