Effects of invasive macrophyte on trophic diversity and position of secondary consumers

Katya E. Kovalenko, Eric D. Dibble

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Invasive species are one of the widespread stressors of aquatic ecosystems. Several studies document food web effects of invasive fish, but little information is available on the effects of invasive macrophytes. We studied differences in food chain length as well as trophic position and trophic diversity of fish and odonates in lakes dominated by native plants or invasive Eurasian watermilfoil. Trophic position and food chain length were determined using baseline-adjusted δ15N isotope signatures. Trophic diversity, or isotope niche width, was estimated from convex hull area analysis. Results show that trophic position of secondary consumers was not affected by the invasive macrophyte, whereas trophic diversity was greater in watermilfoil-dominated lakes. The direction of isotopic niche expansion was different in fish and odonates, suggesting potential decoupling in predator-prey interactions. This study shows that dominant non-native macrophytes may cause significant changes in food web structure of invaded ecosystems. Trophic diversity may be a more sensitive indicator of environmental stress than trophic position and has the potential to be used for assessment of invasive species impacts and restoration success.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-173
Number of pages7
JournalHydrobiologia
Volume663
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011

Keywords

  • Bluegill
  • Exotic
  • Largemouth bass
  • Myriophyllum spicatum
  • Odonata
  • Stable isotopes

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