We tested the effects of fish predation on the macroinvertebrates associated with Vallisneria americana (Michx) by using enclosure/exclosure experiments in lake Onalaska, Wisconsin. Four treatments were used: open water (cageless) controls, cage-effect controls (partially enclosed cages), exclosures (all fish removed), and enclosures (cages stocked with a known density of bluegills Lepomis macrochirus, Rafinesque). Bluegill predation at the density tested (one 70 mm fish per 0.37m2) did not depress Vallisneria associated invertebrate density. Mean invertebrate abundance and biomass (number and dry weight of invertebrates per g dry plant weight) increased in both exclosures and enclosures relative to open water controls. The most likely explanation is that the cages excluded some vertebrate predator(s) from those two treatments and decreased predation pressure within the cages. Large invertebrates, such as Hyalella azteca, Enallagma sp., Gyraulus sp., and Physa sp., increased in abundance within cages, whereas, small invertebrates such as chironomid larvae decreased in abundance.
Additional publication details
Effects of fish predation on invertebrates associated with a macrophyte in Lake Onalaska, Wisconsin