Evidence of alternative trophic pathways for fish consumers in a large river system in the face of invasion

John V. Gatto, Brian S. Ickes, John H. Chick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Large rivers are susceptible to anthropogenic alteration, which can result in drastic changes to their functional ecology. We evaluated spatial–temporal changes in the functional fish communities of the Upper Mississippi River System (UMRS) using data from six study reaches. Species were classified into one of 14 feeding guilds and mass per unit effort (MPUE) was then calculated for each feeding guild annually per gear type. MPUE was standardized using the multigear mean standardization method (MGMS) and log-transformed. Both ANOSIM and Chi-square tests were used to determine differences in MPUE among reaches. We then estimated functional diversity by calculating the number of functional groups (N), Margalef's d, Pielou's J′, Shannon's Diversity, and Simpson's Diversity Index. An AR(1) time series model was used to investigate proportional changes in each guild over 25 years. To evaluate the effect of invasive Carp species in invaded reaches, a Chow test was applied to observations between 2000 and 2005. Analyses revealed differences in the functional fish community among reaches. We found differences in functional diversity metrics among study reaches, but there was little evidence that this differed between invaded and non-invaded reaches. Results determined that invertivore/detritivores have been consistently declining system-wide, with few groups showing a net change. There was also little evidence that invasion altered the proportion of any functional guild. Evaluating the spatial–temporal patterns of functional communities is beneficial to understanding the resilience of a system and can provide further insight into its trophic needs when considering future restoration initiatives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1321-1332
Number of pages12
JournalRiver Research and Applications
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 2022


  • UMRS
  • feeding guild
  • functional diversity
  • functional ecology
  • invasive carp
  • invasive species
  • trait-based

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Environmental Science(all)


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