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The faunal Ponto-Caspianization of central and western European waterways


Abstract

As alien invasive species are a key driver of biodiversity loss, understanding patterns of rapidly changing global species compositions depends upon knowledge of invasive species population dynamics and trends at large scales. Within this context, the Ponto-Caspian region is among the most notable donor regions for aquatic invasive species in Europe. Using macroinvertebrate time series collected over 52 years (1968–2020) at 265 sites across 11 central and western European countries, we examined the occurrences, invasion rates, and abundances of freshwater Ponto-Caspian fauna. We examined whether: (i) successive Ponto-Caspian invasions follow a consistent pattern of composition pioneered by the same species, and (ii) Ponto-Caspian invasion accelerates subsequent invasion rates. In our dataset, Ponto-Caspian macroinvertebrates increased from two species in 1972 to 29 species in 2012. This trend was parallelled by a non-significant increasing trend in the abundances of Ponto-Caspian taxa. Trends in Ponto-Caspian invader richness increased significantly over time. We found a relatively uniform distribution of Ponto-Caspian macroinvertebrates across Europe without any relation to the distance to their native region. The Ponto-Caspian species that arrived first were often bivalves (46.5% of cases), particularly Dreissena polymorpha, followed secondarily by amphipods (83.8%; primarily Chelicorophium curvispinum and Dikerogammarus villosus). The time between consecutive invasions decreased significantly at our coarse regional scale, suggesting that previous alien establishments may facilitate invasions of subsequent taxa. Should alien species continue to translocate from the Ponto-Caspian region, our results suggest a high potential for their future invasion success highly connected central and western European waters. However, each species’ population may decline after an initial ‘boom’ phase or after the arrival of new invasive species, resulting in different alien species dominating over time.

Abstract

As alien invasive species are a key driver of biodiversity loss, understanding patterns of rapidly changing global species compositions depends upon knowledge of invasive species population dynamics and trends at large scales. Within this context, the Ponto-Caspian region is among the most notable donor regions for aquatic invasive species in Europe. Using macroinvertebrate time series collected over 52 years (1968–2020) at 265 sites across 11 central and western European countries, we examined the occurrences, invasion rates, and abundances of freshwater Ponto-Caspian fauna. We examined whether: (i) successive Ponto-Caspian invasions follow a consistent pattern of composition pioneered by the same species, and (ii) Ponto-Caspian invasion accelerates subsequent invasion rates. In our dataset, Ponto-Caspian macroinvertebrates increased from two species in 1972 to 29 species in 2012. This trend was parallelled by a non-significant increasing trend in the abundances of Ponto-Caspian taxa. Trends in Ponto-Caspian invader richness increased significantly over time. We found a relatively uniform distribution of Ponto-Caspian macroinvertebrates across Europe without any relation to the distance to their native region. The Ponto-Caspian species that arrived first were often bivalves (46.5% of cases), particularly Dreissena polymorpha, followed secondarily by amphipods (83.8%; primarily Chelicorophium curvispinum and Dikerogammarus villosus). The time between consecutive invasions decreased significantly at our coarse regional scale, suggesting that previous alien establishments may facilitate invasions of subsequent taxa. Should alien species continue to translocate from the Ponto-Caspian region, our results suggest a high potential for their future invasion success highly connected central and western European waters. However, each species’ population may decline after an initial ‘boom’ phase or after the arrival of new invasive species, resulting in different alien species dominating over time.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Physical Sciences > Ecology
Uncontrolled Keywords:Ecology, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Language:English
Date:1 August 2023
Deposited On:24 Jan 2024 09:00
Last Modified:30 Jun 2024 01:37
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:1387-3547
OA Status:Hybrid
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-023-03060-0
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)