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Diets and stable isotope signatures of native and nonnative Leucisid fishes advances our understanding of the Yellowstone Lake food web

October 20, 2021

(1) Many forage fishes, such as Leucisids (minnows) have depauperate studies on diet composition or stable isotope signatures, as these fishes are often only viewed as food for higher trophic levels. The need exists to understand and document the diet and stable isotope signatures of Leucisids (redside shiner, longnose dace, lake chub) in relation to the community ecology and food-web dynamics in Yellowstone Lake, especially given an invasive piscivore introduction and potential future effects of climate change on the Yellowstone Lake ecosystem. (2) Diet data collected during summer of 2020 were analyzed by species using proportion by number, frequency of occurrence, and mean proportion by weight, and diet overlap was compared using Schoener’s index (D). Stable isotope (δ15N and δ13C) values were estimated by collecting tissue during the summer of 2020 by species, and isotopic overlap was compared using 40% Bayesian ellipses. (3) Nonnative redside shiners and lake chub had similar diets, and native longnose dace diet differed from the nonnative Leucisids. Diet overlap was also higher between the nonnative Leucisids, and insignificant when comparing native and nonnative Leucisids. No evidence existed to suggest a difference in δ15N signatures among the species. Longnose dace had a mean δ13C signature of −15.65, indicating an decreased reliance on pelagic prey compared to nonnative Leucisids. Nonnative redside shiners and lake chub shared 95% of isotopic niche space, but stable isotope overlap was <25% for comparisons between native longnose dace and the nonnative Leucisids. (4) This study established the diet composition and stable isotope signatures of Leusicids residing in Yellowstone Lake, thus expanding our knowledge of Leucisid feeding patterns and ecology in relation to the native and nonnative species in the ecosystem. We also expand upon our knowledge of Leucisids in North America. Additionally, quantifying minnow diets can provide a baseline for understanding food web response to invasive suppression management actions. 

Citation Information

Publication Year 2021
Title Diets and stable isotope signatures of native and nonnative Leucisid fishes advances our understanding of the Yellowstone Lake food web
DOI 10.3390/fishes6040051
Authors Hayley C. Glassic, Christopher S. Guy, Todd M. Koel
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Fishes
Series Number
Index ID 70229718
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Coop Res Unit Seattle