Bottom hypoxia alters the spatial distribution of pelagic intermediate consumers and their prey

Rebecca A. Dillon, Joseph D. Conroy, Kathryn J. Lang, Kevin L. Pangle, Stuart A. Ludsin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

While recent research has shed insight into how bottom hypoxia affects pelagic food webs in coastal marine ecosystems and natural lakes, its effects on man-made lake (reservoir) food webs remains more incomplete. To address this gap, we conducted a study in two midwestern USA reservoirs to examine how the spatial overlap and vertical distributions of dominant zooplanktivores (i.e., pelagic fish, bentho-pelagic Chaoborus spp.) and their prey vary between periods of normoxia and hypoxia. Surprisingly, we found high levels of spatial overlap between zooplankton and both intermediate consumers (pelagic fish and Chaoborus) during both normoxia and hypoxia, though the extent of spatial overlap was higher during hypoxia at night relative to day. As expected, pelagic fish and zooplankton avoided hypoxic waters, and Chaoborus moved from hypoxic waters during the day to the well-oxygenated surface waters at night. Using our findings, we discuss the potential influence of bottom hypoxia and Chaoborus on the function and structure of north-temperate reservoir food webs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)522-538
Number of pages17
JournalCanadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Volume78
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

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