Invasive silver carp is empirically linked to declines of native sport fish in the Upper Mississippi River System

John H. Chick, Daniel K. Gibson-Reinemer, Lori Soeken-Gittinger, Andrew F. Casper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Empirical assessments of the influence of invasive species on native species are infrequent because the required long-term data are rarely available. The invasion of silver carp in the Upper Mississippi River System (UMRS) provides a unique opportunity to assess the influence of this invasive species on native fishes because a highly standardized, long-term monitoring program has been sampling the fish communities in six reaches of the UMRS for over 20 years. We analyzed fish abundance (catch per unit effort from electrofishing) and water-quality data collected from 1994 to 2013 from three reaches where silver carp populations have been established since 2000, and three reaches where they are not established. Our results provide empirical evidence of a negative effect of invasive silver carp on native sport fish in the UMRS. Although water temperature, suspended solid concentration, and flooding also differed substantially between control and invaded reaches, only silver carp abundance had a direct negative relationship with the abundance of adult sport fish. Our analyses suggest that the mechanism for this decline may be competition for zooplankton between silver carp and larval/juvenile sport fish. In reaches where silver carp is established, recruitment of juvenile sport fish appears to be constrained relative to reaches where silver carp is not established.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)723-734
Number of pages12
JournalBiological Invasions
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2020


  • Biotic constraints
  • Empirical relationship
  • Invasive species
  • Long-term ecological data
  • Sport fish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology


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