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    Introduced fish reduce the abundance and diversity of native aquatic fauna, but the effect can be reduced in complex habitats. We manipulated fish populations in forested mountain lakes to determine whether or not fish affected benthic macroinvertebrate composition across lakes with differing habitat complexity. We compared abundance, biomass, body-length, and community structure of benthic macroinvertebrates from 16 lakes with three treatments (fish stocked, suspended stocking, fish removed) and unstocked fishless “controls.” Over four years, we assessed the relative importance of fish and environmental variables influencing the composition of benthic macroinvertebrates. Control lakes had the greatest overall abundance of macroinvertebrates when chironomid midges were excluded. Abundances of insects in the clinger/swimmer functional group and caddisflies were greatest in the control lakes but were primarily influenced by habitat variables including the availability of aquatic vegetation and wood. Total biomass and mean body length of macroinvertebrates were not affected by treatment. Taxon richness of macroinvertebrates was about 40% greater in the control lakes compared to the treatment lakes but did not differ among treatments. Our results suggest that fish reduce susceptible macroinvertebrate richness and abundances, but that changes associated with alterations of fish composition are confounded by other factors in complex lake habitats.

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    Pope, K.L.; Hannelly, E.C. 2013. Response of benthic macroinvertebrates to whole-lake, non-native fish removals in mid-elevation lakes of the Trinity Alps, California. Hydrobiologia. 714: 201-215.


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    Aquatic insects, introduced trout, habitat complexity, Libellula, Chironomidae, Klamath Mountains

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