Do Dreissenid Mussels Affect Lake Erie Ecosystem Stability Processes?

Journal or Book Title: The American Midland Naturalist

Keywords: Algal blooms; Ecosystem management; Ecosystem resilience; Ecosystem stability; Environmental impact; Excretory products; Exotic Species; Food organisms; Freshwater molluscs; Introduced species; Long-term changes; Mussels; Nitrogen; Nutrients; Phosphorus,

Volume/Issue: 153/1

Page Number(s): 20-32

Year Published: 2005


Ecosystem stability processes such as constancy, resilience and persistence are important, but often neglected, topics of invasive species research. Here we consider how invasive dreissenid mussels affect ecosystem stability processes in Lake Erie through both consumptive and excretory processes using the stability landscape heuristic (Gunderson, 2000). Consumption of phytoplankton by dreissenid mussels adds complexity to the system and potentially slows energy transfer from lower to higher trophic levels decreasing system constancy and lowering system resiliency. Excreting soluble waste products at low nitrogen to phosphorus ratios exacerbates these impacts on stability processes because low nutrient ratios favor growth of cyanobacterial blooms, less preferred food of zooplankton, further decreasing the transfer of energy from lower to higher trophic levels. We also provide evidence for recent changes in Lake Erie's stability landscape including a return towards eutrophy.

DOI: 10.1674/0003-0031(2005)153[0020:DDMALE]2.0.CO;2

Type of Publication: Journal Article

Publisher: University of Notre Dame