Author(s): Pilati A, Vanni MJ, Gonzlez MJ, Gaulke AK
Abstract Share this page
Abstract Agricultural activities increase exports of nutrients and sediments to lakes, with multiple potential impacts on recipient ecosystems. Nutrient inputs enhance phytoplankton and upper trophic levels, and sediment inputs can shade phytoplankton, interfere with feeding of consumers, and degrade benthic habitats. Allochthonous sediments are also a potential food source for detritivores, as is sedimenting autochthonous phytodetritus, the production of which is stimulated by nutrient inputs. We examined effects of allochthonous nutrient and sediment subsidies on fish and plankton, with special emphasis on gizzard shad (Dorosoma cepedianum). This widespread and abundant omnivorous fish has many impacts on reservoir ecosystems, including negative effects on water quality via nutrient cycling and on fisheries via competition with sportfish. Gizzard shad are most abundant in agriculturally impacted, eutrophic systems; thus, agricultural subsidies may affect reservoir food webs directly and by enhancing gizzard shad biomass. We simulated agricultural subsidies of nutrients and sediment detritus by manipulating dissolved nutrients and allochthonous detritus in a 2 x 2 factorial design in experimental ponds. Addition of nutrients alone increased primary production and biomass of zooplanktivorous fish (bluegill and young-of-year gizzard shad). Addition of allochthonous sediments alone increased algal sedimentation and decreased seston and sediment C:P ratios. Ponds receiving both nutrients and sediments showed highest levels of phytoplankton and total phosphorus. Adult and juvenile gizzard shad biomass was enhanced equally by nutrient or sediment addition, probably because this apparently P-limited detritivore ingested similar amounts of P in all subsidy treatments. Nutrient excretion rates of gizzard shad were higher in ponds with nutrient additions, where sediments were composed mainly of phytodetritus. Therefore, gizzard shad can magnify the direct effects of nutrient subsidies on phytoplankton production, and these multiple effects must be considered in strategies to manage eutrophication and fisheries in warmwater reservoir lakes where gizzard shad can dominate fish biomass.
This article was published in Ecol Appl
and referenced in Journal of Aquaculture Research & Development