Competition among river planktivores: are native planktivores still fewer and skinnier in response to the Silver Carp invasion?

Richard M. Pendleton, Christopher Schwinghamer, Levi E. Solomon, Andrew F. Casper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Planktivorous Silver Carp Hypophthalmichthys molitrix and Bighead Carp H. nobilis have successfully invaded much of the Upper Mississippi River System and its tributaries during the last 30 years. During the initial years of the invasion, concurrent declines in the body condition and the catch per unit effort (CPUE) of planktivorous Gizzard Shad Dorosoma cepedianum and Bigmouth Buffalo Ictiobus cyprinellus were attributed to competition with Asian carp. Using an additional seven years of data (2007–2013), we assessed whether Silver Carp have continued to exert adverse pressure on the condition, CPUE, and biomass of native planktivores or whether there is evidence of a potential rebound in the populations of native planktivores. The extended data set reaffirms the body condition and the CPUE of Bigmouth Buffalo remain significantly reduced. However, unlike previous analyses, we also observed significant reductions in the CPUE of Gizzard Shad. Additionally, new results show that the CPUE and biomass of Bigmouth Buffalo were more inversely related to Silver Carp CPUE and biomass relative to the CPUE and biomass of Gizzard Shad. These results reinforce that Silver Carp likely suppress native planktivores and also suggest that diet and other life-history traits may explain some of the subtle differences in species-specific responses. Our results also emphasize that long-term data can be critical to understanding how non-native species can influence native fish population dynamics and how this influence may change over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1213-1222
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Biology of Fishes
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2017


  • Asian carp
  • Bigmouth Buffalo
  • Body condition
  • Gizzard Shad
  • Illinois River
  • LTRM
  • Silver Carp

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science


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