Habitat Alteration By Hydrilla And Its Effect On Macroinvertebrate Community Structure And Bluegill Foraging Efficiency
Theel, Heather J.
AdvisorDibble, Eric D.
CommitteeMadsen, John D.
D'Abramo, Louis R.
Exotic invasive plant species can alter aquatic habitats potentially influencing the macroinvertebrate community and foraging fishes. Therefore, I investigated the hypothesis that Hydrilla verticillata will alter habitat important to macroinvertebrate community structure and bluegill foraging efficiency. Studies were conducted in ponds and aquaria. At the pond level, macroinvertebrate abundance, richness, and biomass in a hydrilla-dominated habitat did not differ significantly from a diverse plant habitat. Indicator taxa did differ significantly between respective treatments. The data suggest hydrilla beds may not provide increased macroinvertebrate abundance and richness compared to diverse plant beds as previously thought. In aquaria, habitat complexity (Ihv) and light transmittance were influenced by increasing the homogeneity of hydrilla in an aquatic bed habitat. In addition, bluegill foraging efficiency was affected negatively by increasing spatial complexity of a hydrilla dominated habitat. Therefore, a shift to a monotypic hydrilla habitat can alter macroinvertebrate community composition and impact bluegill foraging success.