Food partitioning between the amphipods Echinogammarus ischnus, Gammarus fasciatus, and Hyalella azteca as revealed by stable isotopes
Journal of Great Lakes Research
Colonies of introduced Dreissena mussels provide substrate and food resources for benthic invertebrates resulting in increases in population abundance of many species including the native amphipod Gammarus fasciatus. Conversely, abundance of Gammarus is inversely associated with that of an introduced amphipod species, Echinogammarus ischnus. In this study, we explored carbon and nitrogen isotopic composition of E. ischnus, G. fasciatus, and Hyalella azteca and of Dreissena faeces/pseudofaeces from western Lake Erie to investigate possible exploitative competition among amphipods. Carbon isotopic composition (δ 13C) of H. azteca and G. fasciatus were similar, indicating that they share food resources, whereas E. ischnus was significantly depleted indicating its use of different resources. Dreissena faeces/pseudofaeces may be a part of G. fasciatus diet as revealed by carbon isotopic signatures, explaining, in part, why its abundance is positively associated with Dreissena. Phytoplankton may be the primary food source for juvenile E. ischnus and G. fasciatus as they had lighter carbon isotopic signatures than adult amphipods, suggesting an ontogenetic diet shift by both species. Isotopic separation of G. fasciatus and E. ischnus suggests that the latter is replacing the former by a mechanism other than exploitative competition for food.
Limén, H.; Van Overdijk, C. D.A.; and MacIsaac, H. J., "Food partitioning between the amphipods Echinogammarus ischnus, Gammarus fasciatus, and Hyalella azteca as revealed by stable isotopes" (2005). Journal of Great Lakes Research, 31, 1, 97-104.