Impacts of invasive species on aquatic food web structure
Past research has demonstrated significant changes in fish and invertebrate communities associated with dreissenid invasion. However, smaller inland lakes may respond differently to dreissenid establishment than observed on the Laurentian Great Lakes.
Lake Simcoe is unique in that it is the only lake with legislation written regarding it’s protection. The Lake Simcoe food web has undergone numerous changes over the years, and our research has investigated primarily how it has changed as a result of species invasions. We have documented significant changes in the benthic communities in the lake following driessenid invasion, and a dramatic increase in the importance of nearshore production. With financial support from the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC), and collaborators Joelle Young (MOECC) and Erin Dunlop (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry) we are conducting a more detailed and long-term analysis of changes in the offshore food web, and examining changes in fish energy use during this time.