Nonnative fishes have been increasingly implicated in the decline of native fishes in the Pacific Northwest. Smallmouth Bass Micropterus dolomieu were introduced into the Umpqua River in southwest Oregon in the early 1960s. The spread of Smallmouth Bass throughout the basin coincided with a decline in counts of upstream-migrating Pacific Lampreys Entosphenus tridentatus. This suggested the potential for ecological interactions between Smallmouth Bass and Pacific Lampreys, as well as freshwater-resident Western Brook Lampreys Lampetra richardsoni. To evaluate the potential effects of Smallmouth Bass on lampreys, we sampled diets of Smallmouth Bass and used bioenergetics models to estimate consumption of larval lampreys in a segment of Elk Creek, a tributary to the lower Umpqua River. We captured 303 unique Smallmouth Bass (mean: 197 mm and 136 g) via angling in July and September. We combined information on Smallmouth Bass diet and energy density with other variables (temperature, body size, growth, prey energy density) in a bioenergetics model to estimate consumption of larval lampreys. Larval lampreys were found in 6.2% of diet samples, and model estimates indicated that the Smallmouth Bass we captured consumed 925 larval lampreys in this 2-month study period. When extrapolated to a population estimate of Smallmouth Bass in this segment, we estimated 1,911 larval lampreys were consumed between July and September. Although the precision of these estimates was low, this magnitude of consumption suggests that Smallmouth Bass may negatively affect larval lamprey populations.
- Digital Object Identifier: 10.1080/02755947.2017.1317677
- Source: USGS Publications Warehouse (indexId: 70188846)