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Effects of gizzard shad on benthic communities in reservoirs

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Effects of gizzard shad Dorosoma cepedianum on benthic communities in a large southern reservoir (Lake Texoma, U.S.A.) were examined during two field enclosure and exclosure experiments in which enclosures were stocked at high and low densities in 1998 and 1999, respectively. In both years, chironomid abundance significantly increased in treatments that excluded large fishes from foraging on sediments. Mean abundance of chironomids and ostracods were significantly higher (P < 0ยท05) in exclosures than enclosures stocked with gizzard shad at 1140–1210 kg ha−1. In 1999, benthic invertebrate abundances did not differ (P > 0ยท08) between exclosure and enclosures stocked at 175–213 kg ha−1. Per cent organic matter, algal abundance and abundance of other macroinvertebrates in sediments did not differ significantly among treatments in either year. Although chironomid abundance was reduced in gizzard shad enclosures in 1998, food habits from this and other studies showed that adult gizzard shad in Lake Texoma only consumed detritus and algae. It is likely that high sedimentation rates in Lake Texoma limit the ability of gizzard shad to regulate algae and detritus in benthic sediments. Thus, it is concluded that disturbance of benthic sediments by gizzard shad caused the observed reduction in chironomid abundance, rather than through consumption or competition for resources.

Keywords: algae; benthic organisms; chironomids; detritus; omnivorous fishes; reservoirs

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: University of Oklahoma, Biological Station and Department of Zoology Norman, OK 73019, U.S.A.

Publication date: 2003-06-01

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