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A simulation of food-web interactions leading to rainbow smelt Osmerus mordax dominance in Sparkling Lake, Wisconsin

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Tel.: +1 517 353 7854; fax: +1 517 353 6496; email: rothbri@msu.edu

Abstract

A process-based simulation model was used to examine the nature and intensity of food-web interactions that allow Osmerus mordax to dominate invaded lakes. The model simulates food-web interactions among linked populations of O. mordax, Coregonus artedi and Sander vitreus. Simulations indicated that O. mordax dominate where: (1) adult O. mordax prey on young-of-the-year (YOY) C. artedi, (2) YOY O. mordax negatively affect YOY S. vitreus through competition and (3) adult S. vitreus experience moderate fishing mortality. Osmerus mordax dominated simulations across a broad range of variable values that regulated competition and predation, and displayed threshold responses to increasing angler harvest. Consequently, angler harvest should be carefully managed in lakes susceptible to O. mordax invasions because the alternative could lead to fishery collapse.

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