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Fish distribution and diet in relation to the invasive macrophyte Lagarosiphon major in the littoral zone of Lake Dunstan, New Zealand

, : Fish distribution and diet in relation to the invasive macrophyte Lagarosiphon major in the littoral zone of Lake Dunstan, New Zealand. Ecology of Freshwater Fish 17(1): 10-19

Invasive macrophytes are usually associated with negative impacts on habitat quality and a threat to native biodiversity. However, they might provide the same beneficial functions of native macrophytes, i.e., the provision of food and shelter for fish, in the absence of native macrophytes. To assess the value of the invasive macrophyte Lagarosiphon major as a fish habitat, we investigated the spatio-temporal variation in the distribution of a small littoral fish species (common bully) in the littoral of Lake Dunstan, a New Zealand hydro lake. Large- and fine-scale common bully distribution could partly be explained by the occurrence of dense L. major stands. Additionally, variability in catch per unit effort was partly explained by season and recruitment. Diet analysis indicated that common bullies in the Lagarosiphon-dominated littoral fed on invertebrates (Mollusca, Trichoptera, Chironomidae) found on exotic L. major, therefore suggesting its role as a food provider in the system. These results indicated that invasive macrophytes can provide important ecosystem functions in disturbed habitats that are otherwise devoid of native macrophytes. Any macrophyte management strategy should therefore carefully consider the costs and benefits associated with macrophyte control.


DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0633.2007.00249.x

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