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CONFERENCE SCHEDULE UPDATES & CHANGES: As a result of the prolonged government shutdown, we experienced a number of cancellations and changes to the schedule. Cancellations and changes are listed here (as of January 26, 2019). 
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Monday, January 28 • 3:20pm - 3:40pm
(FISHERIES: INVASIVE SPECIES 1) Community Shifts in the Middle Mississippi River Relative to the Introduction of Two Hypophthalmichthys Carps

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AUTHORS: Christopher Schwinghamer, Quinton Phelps, Kyle Hartman – West Virginia University

ABSTRACT: Aquatic invasive species can have broad impacts on aquatic ecosystems. Through direct and indirect competition, alteration of existing habitats, and increased predation pressure, non-native species can alter the composition of native fish communities. Two non-native carps from the genus Hypophthalmichthys, Silver H. molitrix and Bighead H. nobilis carps, were introduced into the Mississippi River Basin in the 1970’s through escape from aquaculture facilities and have established populations throughout much of the basin. Due to their planktivorous diets, these non-native invaders possess a high likelihood for competition with native fishes. This creates the potential for shifts in community composition in reaches where they are present. One such reach, in which Silver and Bighead carp established in 2004, is the Middle Mississippi River. Principal response curve analyses of the fish community data was performed to evaluate shift in community composition over time using long term monitoring data. Introductions of these carps appears to have altered native fish communities. Results suggest dramatic declines in abundance of Gizzard Shad Dorosoma cepedianum, while populations of benthic omnivores such as catfish and suckers and abundant prey species may be slightly increasing post-carp establishment. Gizzard Shad, a highly abundant prey species, represent the most abundant native planktivore who likely share the largest dietary overlap and thus highest intensity of competition with the carps. While some species may be experiencing increased abundances, the magnitude of their increase in far exceeded by the declines in Gizzard Shad populations. As such, proper management of invasive carp populations is vital to maintaining healthy fish communities in the Middle Mississippi River.

Monday January 28, 2019 3:20pm - 3:40pm EST