The opossum shrimp Mysis diluviana (formerly M. relicta) performs large amplitude diel vertical migrations in Lake Ontario and its nighttime distribution is influenced by temperature, light and the distribution of its predators and prey. At one location in southeastern Lake Ontario, we measured the vertical distribution of mysids, mysid predators (i.e. planktivorous fishes) and mysid prey (i.e. zooplankton), in addition to light and temperature, on 8 occasions from May to September, 2004 and 2005. We use these data to test 3 different predictive models of mysid habitat selection, based on: (1) laboratory-derived responses of mysids to different light and temperature gradients in the absence of predator or prey cues; (2) growth rate of mysids, as estimated with a mysid bioenergetics model, given known prey densities and temperatures at different depths in the water column; (3) ratio of growth rates (g) and mortality risk (??) associated with the distribution of predatory fishes. The model based on light and temperature preferences was a better predictor of mysid vertical distribution than the models based on growth rate and g:?? on all 8 occasions. Although mysid temperature and light preferences probably evolved as mechanisms to reduce predation while increasing foraging intake, the response to temperature and light alone predicts mysid vertical distribution across seasons in Lake Ontario. ?? Inter-Research 2009.
Additional publication details
Importance of light, temperature, zooplankton and fish in predicting the nighttime vertical distribution of Mysis diluviana