Growth of alewives Alosa pseudoharengus and lake whitefish Coregonus clupeaformis has declined since the arrival and spread of dreissenid mussels in Lakes Michigan and Huron. Alewives are the main forage for the salmonids in Lake Michigan, and lake whitefish are the most important commercial species in both lakes. Bioenergetics modeling was used to determine consumption by the average individual fish before and after the dreissenid invasion and to provide insight into the invasion's effects on fish growth and food web dynamics. Alewives feed on both Zooplankton and benthic macroinvertebrates, and lake whitefish are benthivores. Annual consumption of zooplankton by an average alewife in Lake Michigan was 37% lower and consumption of benthic macroinvertebrates (amphipods Diporeia spp., opossum shrimp Mysis relicta, and Chironomidae) was 19% lower during the postinvasion period (1995-2005) than during the preinvasion period (1983-1994). Reduced consumption by alewives corresponded with reduced alewife growth. In Lakes Michigan and Huron, consumption of nonmollusk macroinvertebrates (Diporeia spp., opossum shrimp, Chironomidae) by the average lake whitefish was 46-96% lower and consumption of mollusks (mainly dreissenids and gastropods) was 2-5 times greater during the postinvasion period than during the preinvasion period. Even though total food consumption by lake whitefish did not differ between the two periods in Lake Huron or the Southern Management Unit in Lake Michigan, postinvasion weight at age was at least 38% lower than preinvasion weight at age. Under the current postinvasion diet regime, consumption by lake whitefish would have to increase by up to 122% to achieve preinvasion growth rates. ?? Copyright by the American Fisheries Society 2008.
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Changes in consumption by alewives and lake whitefish after dreissenid mussel invasions in Lakes Michigan and Huron