Ecosystem stability processes such as constancy, resilience and persistence are important, but often neglected, topics of invasive species research. Here we consider how invasive dreissenid mussels affect ecosystem stability processes in Lake Erie through both consumptive and excretory processes using the stability landscape heuristic (Gunderson, 2000). Consumption of phytoplankton by dreissenid mussels adds complexity to the system and potentially slows energy transfer from lower to higher trophic levels decreasing system constancy and lowering system resiliency. Excreting soluble waste products at low nitrogen to phosphorus ratios exacerbates these impacts on stability processes because low nutrient ratios favor growth of cyanobacterial blooms, less preferred food of zooplankton, further decreasing the transfer of energy from lower to higher trophic levels. We also provide evidence for recent changes in Lake Erie's stability landscape including a return towards eutrophy.
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Vol. 153 • No. 1