Invasive Mussels Alter the Littoral Food Web of a Large Lake: Stable Isotopes Reveal Drastic Shifts in Sources and Flow of Energy

Ted Ozersky, David O. Evans, David R. Barton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations

Abstract

We investigated how establishment of invasive dreissenid mussels impacted the structure and energy sources of the littoral benthic food web of a large temperate lake. We combined information about pre- and postdreissenid abundance, biomass, and secondary production of the littoral benthos with results of carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analysis of archival (predreissenid) and recent (postdreissenid) samples of all common benthic taxa. This approach enabled us to determine the importance of benthic and sestonic carbon to the littoral food web before, and more than a decade after dreissenid establishment. Long term dreissenid presence was associated with a 32-fold increase in abundance, 6-fold increase in biomass, and 14-fold increase in secondary production of the littoral benthos. Dreissenids comprised a large portion of the post-invasion benthos, making up 13, 38, and 56% of total abundance, biomass, and secondary production, respectively. The predreissenid food web was supported primarily by benthic primary production, while sestonic material was relatively more important to the postdreissenid food web. The absolute importance of both sestonic material and benthic primary production to the littoral benthos increased considerably following dreissenid establishment. Our results show drastic alterations to food web structure and suggest that dreissenid mussels redirect energy and material from the water column to the littoral benthos both through biodeposition of sestonic material as well as stimulation of benthic primary production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere51249
JournalPloS one
Volume7
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 17 2012

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Invasive Mussels Alter the Littoral Food Web of a Large Lake: Stable Isotopes Reveal Drastic Shifts in Sources and Flow of Energy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this