Invasive bighead and silver carp effects on zooplankton communities in the Illinois River, Illinois, USA

Greg G. Sass, Collin Hinz, Anthony C. Erickson, Nerissa N. McClelland, Michael A. McClelland, John M. Epifanio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Aquatic invasive species introductions are a global environmental concern. Negative effects of invasive species are often manifested in alterations of food web structure and through competition with and predation upon native species. The Illinois River, Illinois, USA harbors invasive, planktivorous bighead, Hypophthalmichthys nobilis, and silver carp, Hypophthalmichthys molitrix, and can be a model ecosystem to test for their effects on zooplankton communities. We tested for bighead and silver carp effects on zooplankton communities pre- and post-establishment within one reach of the Illinois River and among river reaches that varied in abundances of these invasive fishes. The establishment of bighead and silver carp was associated with increased rotifer abundances, while cladoceran and copepod abundances were reduced relative to pre-establishment. Cladoceran and copepod abundance and biomass were negatively associated with bighead and silver carp abundances among reaches. Total zooplankton and rotifer abundance and biomass were positively associated with bighead and silver carp abundances. Our results suggest that bighead and silver carp have changed the zooplankton community of the Illinois River which may have implications for the food web, native species, and other ecosystems poised to be invaded, such as the Laurentian Great Lakes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)911-921
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Great Lakes Research
Volume40
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014

Keywords

  • Bighead carp
  • Illinois River
  • Invasive species
  • Silver carp
  • Zooplankton

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology

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