Competition between invasive ruffe (Gymnocephalus cernua) and native yellow perch (perca flavescens) in experimental mesocosms

Raymond M. Newman, Fred G. Henson, Carl Richards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Ruffe (Gymnocephalus cernua) were introduced to North America from Europe in the mid-1980s and based on similar diets and habit use may compete with yellow perch (Perca flavescens). To examine competitive interactions between invasive ruffe and native yellow perch, individually marked perch and ruffe were placed in mesocosms in a small lake. Mesocosms allowed fish to interact and feed on the natural prey populations enclosed. In the first experiment, four treatments were assessed: 28 perch, 14 perch + 14 ruffe, 14 perch, and 7 perch + 7 ruffe. Yellow perch growth was significantly lower in the presence of ruffe (ANOVA, p = 0.005) than in treatments containing only perch. In a second experiment, an increasing density of one species was superimposed upon a constant density of the other in parallel treatment series. Growth rates of both ruffe and perch declined when ruffe density was increased (t test, p = 0.006). However, neither ruffe nor perch growth was affected by increasing perch density. Total stomach content mass of perch was significantly decreased by ruffe in both years (p < 0.02), but no effects of ruffe on the composition of perch diets were observed. Ruffe growth and food consumption was greater than that of perch for both experiments. Ruffe can outcompete yellow perch when both species depend on a limited benthic food resource. Thus there is reason for concern for the ecological effects of ruffe if they expand their range into Lake Erie or North American inland lakes that contain yellow perch.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number33
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalFishes
Volume5
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This work was prepared by the authors using federal funds under award USDOC-NA46RG0101 (C. Richards, PI) from Minnesota Sea Grant, National Sea Grant College Program, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. The statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of NOAA, the Sea Grant College Program or the U.S. Department of Commerce. Additional support was provided by the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station under Project 74 and USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Hatch grant MIN-41-081.

Funding Information:
This work was prepared by the authors using federal funds under award USDOC-NA46RG0101 (C. Richards, PI) from Minnesota Sea Grant, National Sea Grant College Program, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. The statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of NOAA, the Sea Grant College Program or the U.S. Department of Commerce. Additional support was provided by the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station under Project 74 and USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Hatch grant MIN-41-081. Acknowledgments: This manuscript was originally a chapter of Fred Henson?s MS thesis that languished as we all moved on to other endeavors. Jeff Schuldt was instrumental in coordinating and overseeing these experiments. We thank Jeremy Trexel, Jim Gangl, Jeff Schuldt and the NRRI technical staff for their steadfast intellectual and physical labor which made this complex field experiment function. We are also grateful for the occasional assistance of Eric Merten, Geoff Schrag, Vanessa Pepi, and Jessica Gurley. Many thanks to Sanford Weisberg for statistical advice. The U.S. Government is authorized to reproduce and distribute reprints for government purposes, not withstanding any copyright notation that may appear hereon.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Keywords

  • Diet
  • Exploitative competition
  • Growth
  • Interference competition
  • Invasive species
  • Ruffe
  • Yellow perch

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Competition between invasive ruffe (Gymnocephalus cernua) and native yellow perch (perca flavescens) in experimental mesocosms'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this