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Trophic Niche and Diet Overlap between Invasive White Perch and Resident White Bass in a Southeastern Reservoir
- Feiner, Zachary S., Rice, James A., Bunch, Aaron J., Aday, D. Derek
- Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 2013 v.142 no.4 pp. 912-919
- Morone americana, Morone chrysops, biologists, diet, fisheries, game fish, juveniles, lakes, piscivores, stable isotopes, North Carolina
- The White Bass Morone chrysops is a popular sport fish that appears to be negatively affected by invasions of White Perch M. americana and often declines or disappears from invaded systems. In 2008, the first discovery of White Perch in Lake James, North Carolina, provided a rare opportunity to investigate trophic overlap between White Perch and a robust population of White Bass near the onset of invasion. We investigated the potential for resource competition between White Perch and White Bass by assessing their relative abundance (CPUE), trophic position, niche size, diet breadth, and diet overlap across 2 years. White Perch were more abundant than White Bass and had wider diet breadth and trophic niche size across seasons. White Perch also occupied lower trophic positions than White Bass, indicating that White Bass maintain a more piscivorous diet. However, diet and stable isotope analysis showed a high overlap between juvenile White Bass and all sizes of White Perch. Thus, juvenile White Bass may be susceptible to competition with White Perch where resources are limited. Therefore, biologists should take steps to prevent White Perch introductions into systems with popular White Bass fisheries.