Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

Erik Jeppesen

Size diversity and species diversity relationships in fish assemblages of Western Palearctic lakes

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


  • Sandra Brucet, University of Vic - Central University of Catalonia
  • ,
  • Ignasi Arranz, Univ Vic, Universitat de Vic, Cent Univ Catalonia, BETA Tecnio Ctr, Aquat Ecol Grp
  • ,
  • Thomas Mehner, Leibniz Inst Freshwater Ecol & Inland Fisheries, Leibniz Institut fur Gewasserokologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB), Dept Biol & Ecol Fishes
  • ,
  • Christine Argillier, Irstea UR RECOVER
  • ,
  • Meryem Beklioglu, Middle East Tech Univ, Middle East Technical University, Dept Biol, Limnol Lab
  • ,
  • Lluis Benejam, Univ Vic, Universitat de Vic, Cent Univ Catalonia, BETA Tecnio Ctr, Aquat Ecol Grp
  • ,
  • Thomas Boll, Middle East Tech Univ, Middle East Technical University, Dept Biol, Limnol Lab
  • ,
  • Kerstin Holmgren, Swedish Univ Agr Sci, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Inst Freshwater Res, Dept Aquat Resources
  • ,
  • Torben L. Lauridsen
  • Jens-Christian Svenning
  • Ian J. Winfield, Lancaster Environm Ctr, NERC Natural Environment Research Council, Lancaster University, NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Lake Ecosyst Grp, Ctr Ecol & Hydrol
  • ,
  • Erik Jeppesen

Body size, coupled with abundance and taxonomy, may help to understand the mechanisms shaping community structure. Since the body size of fish is closely related to their trophic niche, size diversity (based on individual body size) of fish communities may capture intraspecific variations in fish trophic niches that are not detected by species diversity. Thus, the relationship between size diversity and species diversity may help to integrate variation at both intraspecific and interspecific levels. We studied the relationship between species diversity and size diversity as a measure of the degree of overlap in size among species and thereby the potential overlap in niches in a community. We hypothesized that the relationship between size diversity and species would be different across the European continent due to different levels of size overlap in fish communities. The data were derived from samplings of fish communities using standardised benthic gill nets in 363 lakes. At the continental scale, size diversity increased with species diversity; at the ecoregion scale, the slope of the relation changed across the continent, with the greatest mismatch occurring in northern Europe where communities comprised only one or a few species, but each of which exhibited a great range in size. There was an increase in slope towards the south with significant relations for four out of six ecoregions. The steeper size diversity-species diversity slope at lower latitudes is attributable to a lower overlap in fish size and thus likely to finer niche separation. Our results also suggest that size diversity is not a strong surrogate for species diversity in European lake fish communities. Thus, particularly in fish communities composed of few species, measuring size diversity may help to detect potential functional variation which may be neglected by measuring species diversity alone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1064-1076
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018

    Research areas


See relations at Aarhus University Citationformats

ID: 130110498