, Volume 697, Issue 1, pp 85–93 | Cite as

Fish–duck interactions in boreal lakes in Finland as reflected by abundance correlations

  • Veli-Matti Väänänen
  • Petri Nummi
  • Hannu Pöysä
  • Martti Rask
  • Kari Nyberg


We studied the hypothesis that fish play an important role in lake use by ducks (pairs and broods) in boreal lakes. The study was based on densities of different duck and fish species in 28 boreal lakes in southern Finland. We focused on the three most common duck species (mallard Anas platyrhynchos, green-winged teal A. crecca and common goldeneye Bucephala clangula) and on the three most common fish species (perch Perca fluviatilis, roach Rutilus rutilus and pike Esox lucius) in the region. We considered both competitive and predatory interactions between ducks and fish, the perch and roach being potential competitors with ducks and the pike a potential predator of ducks. We found a negative association between green-winged teal brood density and total fish density, the other duck species having only a weak association with total fish density. When the three fish species were considered separately, a negative association, suggesting food competition, was found between perch, green-winged teal and goldeneye, whereas the role of roach as a food competitor seemed to be of minor importance. We did not find any clear signs of predatory effects of pike on ducks. Our results suggest that food competition is a more important factor than pike predation in affecting lake use by ducks in oligotrophic boreal environments in southern Finland.


Competition Goldeneye Green-winged teal Mallard Perch Pike Predation 



We sincerely thank Stuart H. Hurlbert and an anonymous referee for valuable comments on the manuscript, and Esa Pienmunne and Keijo Taskinen for helping in the fieldwork.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Veli-Matti Väänänen
    • 1
  • Petri Nummi
    • 1
  • Hannu Pöysä
    • 2
  • Martti Rask
    • 3
  • Kari Nyberg
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Forest SciencesUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute, Joensuu Game and Fisheries ResearchJoensuuFinland
  3. 3.Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute, Evo Game and Fisheries ResearchEvoFinland
  4. 4.Department of Environmental SciencesUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland

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