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Welcome to the interactive web schedule for the 2019 Midwest Fish & Wildlife Conference! The schedule is subject to change (as of November 7, 2018). Please check back for updates. To return to the main Conference website, go to: www.midwestfw.org.

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Tuesday, January 29 • 4:40pm - 5:00pm
(SYMPOSIA-11) Improving Methods to Understand the Role of Predation on Dreissenid Population Dynamics

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AUTHORS: Kevin R. Keretz; Richard T. Kraus, Joseph Schmitt – US Geological Survey

ABSTRACT: Ecological and societal impacts of dreissenid mussels (Dreissena spp.) on Great Lakes ecosystems are well documented, and a better understanding of the mechanisms that cause variation in mussel abundance is needed.  An outstanding question is how much mussel biomass is consumed by predation. To date, attention has mainly been focused on invasive Round Goby (genus species) predation of mussels.  We note that the biomass of native mussel consumers, such as Freshwater Drum (Aplodinotus grunniens), may exceed Round Goby biomass by an order of magnitude in some areas.  Thus, the role of predation on mussel population dynamics may be greater than is currently assumed.  A significant difficulty for investigating mussel consumption by native predators is that mussels in stomachs are often a macerated mix of crushed shell and flesh. This prevents counting and measurement of individual prey items as is often performed in diet studies.  Here, we develop an analysis to convert the crushed shell and flesh mixture found in diets of Freshwater Drum to a simple dry weight of mussel flesh.  We then estimate daily ration as a first step in understanding the impact of Freshwater Drum on mussel populations in Lake Erie.  Our results support evaluation of proposed mussel control methods by improving our knowledge of ecological mechanisms that influence mussel abundance.  

Tuesday January 29, 2019 4:40pm - 5:00pm