Biological Invasions

, Volume 20, Issue 11, pp 3331–3345 | Cite as

Post-invasion demography and persistence of a novel functional species in an estuarine system

  • Tiia Forsström
  • Outi Vesakoski
  • Katariina Riipinen
  • Amy E. Fowler
Original Paper


Long-term population data of marine invaders are rarely collected although it provides fundamental knowledge of the invasion dynamics that is important for evaluating the impacts, interactions and range expansion of the invader and for management purposes. During a 6-year monitoring period, we studied the dynamics and population demographic characteristics of the newly introduced mud crab Rhithropanopeus harrisii. The overall abundance of R. harrisii appeared to follow the boom and bust pattern with a rapid initial abundance increase and subsequent decline. The recruitment and growth of juveniles were correlated with the temperature during the larval period indicating that the increase in water temperature caused by climate change could have a positive effect on the recruitment and have potentially facilitated the establishment of R. harrisii in the northern Baltic Sea. The changes in the survival of reproductive females influence most the growth rate of the studied population. Hence, native predators feeding on benthic fauna such as fish could regulate the population growth of R. harrisii in the study area by reducing female survival. Although the population size seems to be stabilized at the monitoring locations, R. harrisii continues to expand its distribution range, and the rapid initial population increase is likely occurring at newly invaded sites.


Invasive species Population dynamics Rhithropanopeus harrisii Crab Climate change 



This study was financed by the Finnish Foundation for Nature Conservation from Rafael Kuuskoski memorial fund. A Research Coordination Network Grant funded by the Global Invasions Network, with support from the National Science Foundation, was awarded to AEF for this research. We would like to thank Juho Yli-Rosti and Salla Mikkola that have helped to collect the population data. We would also like to thank Veijo Jormalainen, Maiju Lehtiniemi, Jonne Kotta and three anonymous reviewers for the comments that greatly improved the manuscript.

Supplementary material

10530_2018_1777_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (265 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 264 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland
  2. 2.Department of Environmental Science and PolicyGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA
  3. 3.Smithsonian Environmental Research CenterEdgewaterUSA

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