As per the latest research by University of Guelph’s researchers, warm climate is having an adverse impact on food webs present in Ontario lakes. Researchers have identified that warmer average climate changes in the last ten years have forced fish to rummage in deeper water. They pursue various prey species, which in turn leads to environment-induced rewiring of food webs, changing the energy flow & nutrients present in the waterbody.
Observing the movement of species such as lake trout may give a heads-up for effects of environment alteration on ecosystems. Lead author of the research, Tim Bartley says that they can use the species’ natural capacity to identify & respond to alterations in their climate. Due to the change in the behavior of the species, they are indirectly informing them about the climate changes that are taking place in their climate. Researchers can use this insight. Behavioral alterations they witness indicate significant reorganization of ecosystems.
The study is released in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, which entailed observing the movement of lake trout & feeding in several northwestern Ontario lakes. Tim caught fish to study their tissues to find out what they consume. They also used same information about the feeding habits of fish & locations all over the province from Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.
Analysis of tissue exhibited that Lake trout spent a lot of their time in deeper water as compared to near shore. But the team were not able to recognize particular prey species. The fish prefer to hunt for lake herring. However, Tim also pointed out that Lake trout are adjustable feeders that will consume other species of fish and also invertebrates.
He also said that warm temperatures may be one of the reasons, why Lake Herring prefer colder waters, which also means that Lake Trout may still eat them in offshore areas. Observing behavioral alterations in species like Lake Trout is essential for people who depend on ecosystems for services & resources right from food to water quality.
Impact of climate changes are complex & differ in the ecosystems to develop a patchwork of novel conditions. Preys of Lake Trout are also shifting due to warmer environments. Observing the movement, habits of eating of fish species like lake trout may provide resource managers with a warning sign to identify warming’s impact.