Ecological niche modeling as a predictive tool: silver and bighead carps in North America
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The silver carp and bighead carp (Cyprinidae), native to eastern Asia, have been introduced into the United States in attempts to improve water quality in aquaculture ponds, reservoirs, and sewage pools. Escaped or released specimens from fish farms have been reported in many states, and both species are already locally established and spreading further. We used the Genetic Algorithm for Rule-set Prediction (GARP) to model the niches of these two carps in their native ranges using hydrologic and general environmental parameters in concert with native distributional data. The results accurately predicted native occurrence data withheld from the modeling process (P < 0.01). We then projected the niche models onto the North American landscape. Native niche range models significantly predicted known occurrence data from North American introductions (P < 0.001). Further, the models suggest that both species have the potential of spreading throughout the eastern U.S. and selected areas of the West Coast.
KeywordsBighead Carp GARP Invasive species Niche modeling Silver Carp
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The United States Geological Survey funded part of this study as part of their on-going assessment of invasive species. We thank Dr. C. Zhang, Beijing Institute of Zoology, Dr. J. Yang, Kunming Institute of Zoolgy, Drs. S. He and H. Liu, Wuhan Institute of Hydrobiology, for allowing access to their museum data; Drs. T.A. Peterson and D. Fautin, the University of Kansas, for constructive comments and helpful discussions. The Biodiversity Research Center, the University of Kansas, provided necessary informatics infrastruture, tools, and facilities that made this study possible.
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