We examined the interactions of the common carp (Cyprinus carpio L.) and nutrient additions on water quality, sedimentation rates, and submerged macrophyte biomass in mesocosms in Delta Marsh, Manitoba, Canada. We wanted to determine if carp and nutrients interacted synergistically to increase phytoplankton biomass. A two-by-three duplicated, factorial design had the following treatments: (1) control mesocosms with no carp or nutrient additions; (2) low carp density and no nutrient additions; (3) high carp density and no nutrient additions; (4) no carp and nutrient additions; (5) low carp density and nutrient additions; and (6) high carp density and nutrient additions. The presence of carp increased ammonia concentrations, turbidity, and phytoplankton biomass as expected but did not increase total reactive phosphorus concentrations. The presence of carp did not appear to interact synergistically with nutrient additions to increase phytoplankton as has been suggested by others. In mesocosms with high carp density and receiving nutrient enrichment, phytoplankton appeared to be suppressed relative to mesocosms receiving nutrient enrichment only, and nutrient enrichment and low carp density. Overall, the presence of carp appears to mimic the effects of eutrophication. Our results demonstrate that carp can cause a shift from a clear, macrophyte-dominated state to a turbid phytoplankton-dominated state at a biomass of less than 600 kg ha−1.
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Financial support for this project was provided by Institute of Wetland and Waterfowl Research of Ducks Unlimited Canada and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. We gratefully acknowledge the facilities and staff of the former Delta Marsh Field Station (University of Manitoba) and assistance with field sampling provided by Birte Gerdes, Andrea Patenaude, Kevin Jacobs, Andrea Andruschak, and Dan Leitch.
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Badiou, P.H.J., Goldsborough, L.G. Ecological impacts of an exotic benthivorous fish, the common carp (Cyprinus carpio L.), on water quality, sedimentation, and submerged macrophyte biomass in wetland mesocosms. Hydrobiologia 755, 107–121 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-015-2220-6
- Common carp
- Water quality
- Suspended solids