Total benthic invertebrate biomass in shallow offshore waters (depths 10–15 m) increased 17-fold on average following the invasion of dreissenid mussels and implementation of P controls in Lake Simcoe, Ontario, despite a 50% overall decrease in total invertebrate density during the same time period. The increase in total invertebrate biomass at 10- and 15-m depths was primarily dreissenid biomass. Patterns of biomass with depth and dreissenid invasion for individual taxa were typically similar to those for density. Biomass of chironomid and nondreissenid bivalves declined at shallow (10–15 m) sites but increased at the deepest (20–30 m) sites, whereas biomass of oligochaetes declined at all sites. Density and biomass of Amphipoda, Isopoda, and Gastropoda increased at depths ≥10 m, and these taxa were found more frequently in deeper sites after dreissenid invasion than before. Increased habitation of deeper sites by these taxa may be mediated by increased habitat complexity caused by deposition of dreissenid shells, nutrient enrichment of substrate occupied by dreissenids, and improvements in hypolimnetic dissolved O2 and water clarity observed during dreissenid invasion. Increased length and biomass of profundal chironomids after dreissenid invasion may be the result of taxonomic changes in the chironomid community, which in turn appear to be closely associated with improvements in deep-water O2 concentrations. Changes in the benthic community described here probably have important consequences for the degree of coupling between nearshore and offshore habitats in Lake Simcoe.
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