The role of filter-feeding Asian carps in algal dispersion
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- Görgényi, J., Boros, G., Vitál, Z. et al. Hydrobiologia (2016) 764: 115. doi:10.1007/s10750-015-2285-2
The gut contents of filter-feeding fish often contain considerable amounts of viable phytoplankton cells; thus, these animals can act as vectors in the horizontal and vertical transport of algae. In this study, the potential role of the introduced filter-feeding Asian carps (hybrids of silver carp Hypophthalmichthys molitrix and bighead carp H. nobilis) in algal dispersion was studied in the oligo-mesotrophic Lake Balaton (Hungary). We examined the algal composition in the lake water, gut contents (foregut and hindgut), and occasionally in the filtered suspensions collected directly from the gill rakers (filtering apparatus) of fish. Microscopic analyses revealed that the phytoplankton composition of the ingested food differed considerably from what we found in the lake water. Cryptophytes, dinoflagellates, and euglenophytes were observed in both the lake water and foregut samples but were absent in the hindgut samples. However, in the cultured hindgut samples, we found viable cells of several phytoplankton taxa (e.g., diatoms, blue-greens, desmids, volvocalean and chlorococcalean green algae), which managed to survive the physical and chemical digestion. These results imply that the presence of these filter-feeding fish can alter the phytoplankton species composition and promote the dominance of taxa that are able to resist digestion.