Bigmouth buffalo fish (Ictiobus cyprinellus) are commercially harvested from shallow lakes throughout Iowa. These fish are primarily planktivores, consuming zooplankton that graze on algae. Despite the economic importance of bigmouth buffalo, little is known about their ecological impact on lakes or if commercial harvest can offset those potential effects. In this project, researchers investigated if bigmouth buffalo harvest reduces population density enough to induce a trophic cascade. Trophic cascades occur when predators limit the density or behavior of their prey, which enhances survival of the next lower trophic level. In this case, fewer bigmouth buffalo could release zooplankton from predation, and decrease algal populations through zooplankton grazing. Also investigated was how the varying densities that result from bigmouth buffalo commercial harvest alters ecosystem resilience to external disruptions such as nutrient loading during storm events.
How to Cite:
Wilkinson, G., Butts, T., Sandry, E., Weber, M. & Simonson, M., (2020) “Effects of Bigmouth Buffalo Commercial Harvest on Ecosystem Resilience to Nutrient Loading”, Iowa State University Research and Demonstration Farms Progress Reports 2019(1).