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Scientific contribution to the Fish of the Year 2023 - The perch (Perca fluviatilis) From anecdote to exciting science with the "commonplace species" perch

The research on European perch at the Ecological Research Station Rees in Grietherbusch started about 25 years ago, with a request from a neighboring fishing club that wanted to know something about the occurrence of fish in a small gravel-pit lake. With this first task, a following pilot study with a series of reports and theses as well as a comprehensive dissertation, we were able to obtain a DFG project that dealt with the "early piscivory of 0+ perch against the background of habitat and food niche change as well as winter mortality". Based on extensive studies in large experimental ponds that were conducted in this DFG project, we could analyze which conditions lead to the development of so-called juvenile piscivory in perch and the extent to which year class cohorts can split into different size cohorts. These and a whole series of other exciting research results on the ecology of the common species perch are brought together in this essay. It is a wonderful way to demonstrate that sometimes a scientist just needs a little luck to be in the right place at the right time, in order to start and to achieve scientific merit with solid research and experiments.