Predation on the Invasive Copepod, Pseudodiaptomus forbesi, and Native Zooplankton in the Lower Columbia River: An Experimental Approach to Quantify Differences in Prey-Specific Feeding Rates
Adams, Jesse B.
Bollens, Stephen M.
Bishop, John G.
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Invasive planktonic crustaceans have become a prominent feature of aquatic communities worldwide, yet their effects on food webs are not well known. The Asian calanoid copepod, Pseudodiaptomus forbesi, introduced to the Columbia River Estuary approximately 15 years ago, now dominates the late-summer zooplankton community, but its use by native aquatic predators is unknown. We investigated whether three species of planktivorous fishes (chinook salmon, three-spined stickleback, and northern pikeminnow) and one species of mysid exhibited higher feeding rates on native copepods and cladocerans relative to P. forbesi by conducting `single-prey’ feeding experiments and, additionally, examined selectivity for prey types with `two-prey’ feeding experiments. In single-prey experiments individual predator species showed no difference in feeding rates on native cyclopoid copepods (Cyclopidae spp.) relative to invasive P. forbesi, though wild-collected predators exhibited higher feeding rates on cyclopoids when considered in aggregate. In two-prey experiments, chinook salmon and northern pikeminnow both strongly selected native cladocerans (Daphnia retrocurva) over P. forbesi, and moreover, northern pikeminnow selected native Cyclopidae spp. over P. forbesi. On the other hand, in two-prey experiments, chinook salmon, three-spined stickleback and mysids were non- selective with respect to feeding on native cyclopoid copepods versus P. forbesi. Our results indicate that all four native predators in the Columbia River Estuary can consume the invasive copepod, P. forbesi, but that some predators select for native zooplankton over P. forbesi, most likely due to one (or both) of two possible underlying casual mechanisms: 1) differential taxon-specific prey motility and escape responses (calanoids > cyclopoids > daphnids) or 2) the invasive status of the zooplankton prey resulting in naivety, and thus lower feeding rates, of native predators feeding on invasive prey.