The non-indigenous zooplanktivore, Bythotrephes longimanus, is a large Palaearctic cladoceran that is spreading rapidly in the Great Lakes watershed in North America. As a voracious predator, Bythotrephes can reduce herbivorous cladoceran abundance and diversity; however, the variables that affect its abundance are not well understood. To determine what bottom-up factors are associated with the abundance and seasonal dynamics of established Bythotrephes populations, two Bythotrephes datasets from lakes in south-central Ontario, Canada, were analysed using multiple regression and multivariate analyses: a multi-lake dataset of nine lakes sampled in 2003 and a multi-year dataset of one of these lakes, Harp Lake, sampled from 1994–1998 and 2001–2004. Bottom-up variables tested were Secchi disk depth, epilimnetic temperature, cladoceran (prey) density, total phosphorus, dissolved organic carbon and Chlorophyll a, as well as maximum depth for the multi-lake dataset. In both analyses and datasets, springtime abundance of herbivorous cladocerans was consistently found to be a significant factor associated with Bythotrephes (June–September) abundance; Bythotrephes annual abundance was significantly and positively associated with mean May and June prey abundance, along with mean Secchi disk depth for the multi-lake dataset, and groups of lakes or years with similar Bythotrephes seasonal abundance patterns were predicted by June prey abundance. Additionally, prey availability was the dominant contributor towards changes in weekly Bythotrephes birth rates calculated for two of the study lakes. Our study suggests that prey availability influences Bythotrephes abundance, which provides evidence that Bythotrephes establishment success is affected by the abundance of its prey.
- Predation (Biology),
- Environmental conditions
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/angela_strecker/2/