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  • Aquatic Invasive Species

    Redpath Museum McGill University

    ©McGill University 2011

    www.wikipedia.org: public domain or licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 3.0 License

    This presentation was made possible with funding from the PromoScience programme of NSERC

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  • One of these things is not like the others…

    www.wikipedia.org: licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

    www.wikipedia.org: licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

    www.wikipedia.org: USDA, public domain ©McGill University 2011

    www.wikipedia.org. Public domain.

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  • A very different beast • Zebra mussels are not native to Canada: they

    are an invasive species

    www.wikipedia.org: licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

    ©McGill University 2011

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  • What is an invasive species?

    • An invasive species is a species that: – is not originally from an area (i.e., it is not a

    species native to that area)

    – may threaten the environment, the economy, or society ̶ including human health ̶ in the new area to which it is introduced or spreads.

    • An invasive species can be an animal, plant, fungus, bacteria, or virus.

    ©McGill University 2011

  • Aquatic invasives

    www.wikipedia.org: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

    Chinese mitten crab: an invasive species that can tolerate a range of salinities but needs salt water to reproduce

    • Aquatic invasives live in aquatic environments.

    • Some species live only in fresh water, others live only in salt water, and some species can tolerate both fresh and salt water, enabling them to spread throughout many different ecosystems.

    ©McGill University 2011

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  • How do invasives harm the environment? (i)

    www.wikipedia.org: public domain

    • Without native predators and parasites to control them, invasive species often flourish.

    Zebra mussels covering a current meter.

    ©McGill University 2011

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0b/Zebra_mussel_GLERL_3.jpg�

  • How do invasives harm the environment? (ii)

    www.wikipediia.org: USGS, public domain.

    • In their new ecosystems, invasive species may become • predators • competitors • parasites • diseases of our native and domesticated plants and

    animals.

    Sea lampreys attached to a lake trout

    ©McGill University 2011

    http://www.wikipediia.org/� http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/41/Sea_Lamprey_fish.jpg�

  • Aquatic invasives: mussels (i)

    www.wikipedia.org. Public domain.

    • Invasive species can change habitat and make it inhospitable for some native species.

    • E.g., Zebra mussels in the Great Lakes filter tremendous amounts of plankton out of the water: • The water is clearer • Sunlight penetrates deeper • There can be overgrowth of

    vegetation and toxic algal blooms • There can be less

    plankton available for native plankton-feeders (e.g., other invertebrates, fish), that now have to compete for food

    ©McGill University 2011

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e0/Dreissena_polymorpha.jpg�

  • Aquatic invasives: mussels (ii)

    www.wikipedia.org. Public domain.

    • Zebra mussels and one of the newer invaders, the quagga mussel, have wiped out most of the native mussel populations in the Saint-Lawrence River, changing the invertebrate populations in ways that scientists are still studying.

    Native mussels (Lampsilis sp.) Native mussel (Lampsilis sp.) covered with zebra mussels. Photo credit: A. Ricciardi. ©McGill University 2011

  • Aquatic invasives: mussels (iii)

    www.wikipedia.org. Public domain.

    • In a strange twist that pits invasive vs. invasive, the quagga mussel may now be out-competing the zebra mussel!

    • In some areas of the St. Lawrence and most of the Great Lakes, the quagga mussel has replaced the zebra mussel as the dominant bivalve.

    Quagga mussel Zebra mussel ©McGill University 2011

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a9/Dreissena_polymorpha3.jpg�

  • Aquatic invasives: fish

    www.wikipedia.org. Public domain.

    • Invasive species can prey on native species, including species at risk, and threaten their survival. This reduces biodiversity.

    • For example, the round goby is a bottom-feeder that preys on local invertebrates that feed native fish species. The round goby also eats fish eggs.

    Round goby

    ©McGill University 2011

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/8/8c/RoundGoby2.jpg�

  • Aquatic invasives: shrimp

    • Bloody red mysid shrimp (Hemimysis anomala) were found in the Great Lakes in 2006 and are spreading throughout the St. Lawrence river.

    • There are no native freshwater shrimp in North American rivers. When an invasive has no equivalent in the environment it is invading, the impact it has is more likely to be an important one.

    NOAA, Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory. www.wikipedia.org. Public domain.

    ©McGill University 2011

  • Invasives and disease (i) • Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS)

    virus is an invasive species that affects over 100 species of fish, including muskellunge, northern pike, yellow perch, walleye, and smallmouth bass.

    • VHS has been present in the Great Lakes- St. Lawrence system since 2003 or earlier, and it has caused several fish die-offs in the Great Lakes and upper St. Lawrence River. Die-offs have not yet been recorded in Quebec waters.

    Photo credit: Dr. Mohamed Faisal, Michigan State University. Accessed at http://www.nps.gov/piro/naturescience/vhs.htm

    ©McGill University 2011

  • Invasives and disease (ii) • VHS was probably introduced to the Great Lakes-

    St. Lawrence system from the Atlantic coast of North America, but it is not known how it was introduced.

    • For more information, please see this VHS factsheet.

    Photo credit: Dr. Mohamed Faisal, Michigan State University. Wikipedia.org. Public domain.

    ©McGill University 2011

    http://redpath-staff.mcgill.ca/ricciardi/VHS.html�

  • Invasives and biodiversity • In freshwater systems, invasive species

    are the second most significant threat to biodiversity, after habitat loss!

    • On average, a new invasive species is discovered in the Great Lakes every 28 weeks. That suggests the highest rate of invasion known for any freshwater system.1

    1Ricciardi, A. 2006. Patterns of invasion in the Laurentian Great Lakes in relation to changes in vector activity. Diversity and Distributions 12: 425-433

    ©McGill University 2011

    http://redpath-staff.mcgill.ca/ricciardi/Ricciardi2006DAD.pdf� http://redpath-staff.mcgill.ca/ricciardi/Ricciardi2006DAD.pdf�

  • Do invasive species have only negative effects? (i)

    • Nearly all invaders

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