Trophic interactions and consequent impacts of the invasive fish Pseudorasbora parva in a native aquatic foodweb: a field investigation in the UK
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Introduction of the invasive Asian cyprinid fish Pseudorasbora parva into a 0.3 ha pond in England with a fish assemblage that included Cyprinus carpio, Rutilus rutilus and Scardinius erythrophthalmus resulted in their establishment of a numerically dominant population in only 2 years; density estimates exceeded 60 ind. m−2 and they comprised >99% of fish present. Stable isotope analysis (SIA) revealed significant trophic overlap between P. parva, R. rutilus and C. carpio, a shift associated with significantly depressed somatic growth in R. rutilus. Despite these changes, fish community composition remained similar between the ponds. Comparison with SIA values collected from an adjacent pond free of P. parva revealed a simplified food web in P. parva presence, but with an apparent trophic position shift for several fishes, including S. erythrophthalmus which appeared to assimilate energy at a higher trophic level, probably through P. parva consumption. The marked isotopic shifts shown in all taxa in the P. parva invaded pond (13C-enriched, 15N depleted) were indicative of a shift to a cyanobacteria-dominated phytoplankton community. These findings provide an increased understanding of the ecological consequences of the ongoing P. parva invasion of European freshwater ecosystems.
KeywordsTopmouth gudgeon Cyprinus carpio Rutilus rutilus Scardinius erythrophthalmus Trophic overlap Stable isotope analysis Angling
The authors wish to thank Mr. Keith Fidoe, owner of Hucks Farm at the time the work was completed, for his consent, and the staff of the Environment Agency involved in the work, including Dr. Chris Williams, Neil Sampson, Bill Burleigh and Andrew Black. They further thank H. Buhtz, Elke Blohm-Sievers and A. Möller for stable isotope preparation and analyses. C.H. thanks W. Lampert, D. Tautz and the Max Planck Society for funding. The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and not their parent organisations.
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