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Monday, February 6 • 3:20pm - 3:40pm
Symposia Session - S3: Ecology of the Missouri National Recreational River. Contrasting Effects of Fish Predation on Benthic versus Emerging Insects in the MNRR

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AUTHORS: Jeff Wesner, Jerry Warmbold - Department of Biology, University of South Dakota

ABSTRACT: Evidence that fish reduce benthic community biomass in freshwater ecosystems is mixed, but evidence that they reduce insect emergence to the terrestrial ecosystem is strong. We hypothesized that fish have stronger effects on emerging insects than on benthic insects, but that the size of this difference depends on the foraging traits of the fish (benthic versus pelagic). To test this hypothesis, we compared the effects of fish on benthic and emerging insects using enclosures/exclosures in a backwater of the Missouri River. Preliminary results suggest that benthic-feeding fish (omnnivorous Smallmouth Buffalo) reduced benthic insect densities by ~50% and reduced adult emergence by ~25%. In contrast, pelagic Green Sunfish had a positive effect on benthic insect densities (~350% increase), but a negative effect on emerging insects (~40% decrease). These results suggest that fish can reduce emergence to the terrestrial ecosystem, even in the absence of effects on benthic insects.

Monday February 6, 2017 3:20pm - 3:40pm CST
Grand Ballroom A