Invasive cattail reduces fish diversity and abundance in the emergent marsh of a Great Lakes coastal wetland
Schrank, Amy J. | Lishawa, Shane C.
Great Lakes coastal wetlands (GLCWs) provide critical fish habitat. The invasion of GLCWs by hybrid and narrow-leaved cattail, Typha × glauca and Typha angustifolia (hereafter Typha), homogenizes wetlands by out-competing native plant species and producing copious litter. However, the effect of this invasion on fish communities is little known. To measure the effect of Typha on fishes, we established plots in Typha invaded and native wetland emergent zones in a northern Lake Michigan coastal wetland, and measured environmental variables, plants, and fishes in each zone over two summers. Dissolved oxygen and water temperature were significantly lower in invaded compared to native plots. Invaded plots were dominated by Typha and its litter; whereas. sedges (Carex spp.) were the most abundant species in native plots. Fish abundance and species richness were significantly lower in Typha compared to native wetland plots. The Typha fish community was dominated by hypoxia tolerant mudminnow whereas other small, schooling, fusiform species such as cyprinids and fundulids were absent. These results illustrate the negative impact of a dominant invasive plant on Great Lakes fishes that is expected to be found in Typha invasions in other GLCWs.Show more [+] Less [-]