U.S. Department of Commerce


Date of this Version



Mohr, L.C., and Nalepa, T.F. (Editors). 2005. Proceedings of a workshop on the dynamics of lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) and the amphipod Diporeia spp. in the Great Lakes. Great Lakes Fish. Comm. Tech. Rep. 66.


The amphipod Diporeia spp. comprised 60-80% of the benthos in offshore Lake Ontario and was an important food for fish. In eastern Lake Ontario, Diporeia spp. began disappearing in 1993 just after the arrival of dreissenid mussels. We compared survival of Diporeia spp. and Hyalella azteca in sediments from areas where Diporeia spp. populations had vanished with survival in sediments still inhabited. Survival was also examined in the presence of zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) pseudofeces, filtered water from mussel cultures, and added bacteria. The Microtox® test indicated that sediment pore water was not toxic. Sediments from sites with large Dreissena spp. populations (Lake Erie and western Lake Ontario) lowered Diporeia spp. survival. Diporeia spp. and H. azteca responded differently to test sediments and zebra mussel pseudofeces. Pseudofeces added to Lake Superior sediment greatly reduced H. azteca survival but had less effect on Diporeia spp. survival. Added bacteria had little effect on the survival of either species. Sediments exposed to dying Diporeia spp. caused significant mortality suggesting the presence of a pathogen. Diporeia spp. remained common in two inland lakes containing dreissenids indicating that the amphipod can co-exist with the mussels.