Estuaries and Coasts

, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 364–372 | Cite as

Impacts of a Habitat-Forming Exotic Species on Estuarine Structure and Function: An Experimental Assessment of Eurasian Milfoil

Article

Abstract

It is widely believed that successful colonization of ecosystems by non-native species will have catastrophic consequences for the recipient system. Within the Mobile–Tensaw Delta, AL, exotic Eurasian milfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum) has been reported to trigger degradation of ecosystem structure and function. We evaluated the impacts of structurally complex milfoil on food web structure and predator-prey interactions via comparisons with two native grasses, structurally simple wild celery (Vallisneria americana) and the more complex water stargrass (Heteranthera dubia). While significant differences were not detected in the faunal compositions of milfoil and stargrass habitats, significant differences between milfoil and wild celery were found. Laboratory experiments showed that rainwater killifish, a key contributor to these differences, preferred milfoil over wild celery, but did not occupy milfoil more than stargrass. Subsequent experiments indicated that survivorship was drastically lower in wild celery. Though many of the documented impacts of Eurasian milfoil have been cast as detrimental, shelter-seeking organisms may perceive milfoil in the same way as other complex native species.

Keywords

Community structure Exotic Heteranthera Lucania Myriophyllum Submerged aquatic vegetation Trophic interactions Vallisneria 

References

  1. Baldwin, J.R., and J.R. Lovvorn. 1994. Major expansion of seagrass habitat by the exotic Zostera japonica, and its use by dabbling ducks and Brant in Boundary Bay, British Columbia. Marine Ecology Progress Series 103: 199–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Beshears, W.W.J. 1982. Mobile Delta vegetative survey. Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. 31 pages.Google Scholar
  3. Boschung, H.T., R.L. Mayden, and J.R. Tomelleri. 2004. Fishes of Alabama. Smithsonian.Google Scholar
  4. Carlton, J.T., and J.B. Geller. 1993. Ecological roulette: the global transport of nonindigenous marine organisms. Science 261: 78–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Carpenter, S.R., and D.M. Lodge. 1986. Effects of submersed macrophytes on ecosystem process. Aquatic Botany 26: 341–370.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Castellanos, D.L., and L.P. Rozas. 2001. Nekton use of submerged aquatic vegetation, marsh, and shallow unvegetated bottom in the Atchafalaya River Delta, a Louisiana tidal freshwater ecosystem. Estuaries 24: 184–197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chaplin, G.I., and J.F. Valentine. 2009. Macroinvertebrate production in the submerged aquatic vegetation of the Mobile–Tensaw Delta: Effects of an exotic species at the base of an estuarine food web. Estuaries and Coasts 32: 319–332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cohen, A.N., and J.T. Carlton. 1998. Accelerating invasion rate in a highly invaded estuary. Science 279: 555–558.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Colle, D.E., and J.V. Shireman. 1980. Coefficients of condition for largemouth bass, bluegill, and redear sunfish in Hydrilla-infested lakes. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 109: 521–531.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Crooks, J.A. 1998. Habitat alteration and community-level effects of an exotic mussel, Musculista senhousia. Marine Ecology Progress Series 162: 137–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Crooks, J.A. 2002. Characterizing the consequences of invasions: the role of introduced ecosystem engineers. Oikos 97: 153–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Crowder, L.B., and W.E. Cooper. 1982. Habitat structural complexity and the interaction between bluegills and their prey. Ecology 63(6): 1802–1813.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dayton, P.K. 1975. Experimental evaluations of ecological dominance in a rocky intertidal community. Ecological Monographs 45: 137–159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dewey, M.R. 1992. Effectiveness of a drop net, a pop net, and an electrofishing frame for collecting quantitative samples of juvenile fishes in vegetation. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 12(4): 808–813.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Duffy, K.C., and D.M. Baltz. 1998. Comparison of fish assemblages associated with native and exotic submerged macrophytes in the Lake Pontchartrain estuary, USA. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 223(2): 199–221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Elton, C.S. 1958. The ecology of invasions by animals and plants. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  17. Glancy, T.P., T.K. Frazer, C.E. Cichra, and W.J. Lindberg. 2003. Comparative patterns of occupancy by decapod crustaceans in seagrass, oyster, and marsh-edge habitats in a northeast Gulf of Mexico estuary. Estuaries 26: 1291–1301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gotceitas, V., and P. Colgan. 1987. Selection between densities of artificial vegetation by young bluegills avoiding predation. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 116: 40–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Grosholz, E.D., G.M. Ruiz, C.A. Dean, K.A. Shirley, J.L. Maron, and P.G. Connors. 2000. The impacts of a nonindigenous marine predator in a California Bay. Ecology 81(5): 1206–1244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gurevitch, J., and D.K. Padilla. 2004. Are invasive species a major cause of extinctions? Trends in Ecology and Evolution 19(9): 470–474.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Heck, K.L., and G.S. Wetstone. 1977. Habitat complexity and invertebrate species richness and abundance in tropical seagrass meadows. Journal of Biogeography 4: 135–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Jordan, F. 2002. Field and laboratory evaluation of habitat use by rainwater killifish (Lucania parva) in the St. John’s River estuary, Florida. Estuaries 25(2): 288–295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kushlan, J.A. 1981. Sampling characteristics of enclosure fish traps. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 110(4): 557–562.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lydeard, C., and R.L. Mayden. 1995. A diverse and endangered aquatic ecosystem of the southeast United States. Conservation Biology 9(4): 800–805.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Mack, R.N., D. Simberloff, M.W. Lonsdale, H. Evans, M. Clout, and F. Bazzaz. 2000. Biotic invasions: causes, epidemiology, global consequences, and control. Ecological Applications 10(3): 689–710.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Martin, C.W., F.J. Fodrie, K.L. Heck, and J. Mattila. In press. Differential habitat use and antipredator response of juvenile roach (Rutilus rutilus) to olfactory and visual cues from multiple predators. Oecologia.Google Scholar
  27. McIvor, C.C., and W.E. Odum. 1988. Food, predation risk, and microhabitat selection in a marsh fish assemblage. Ecology 69: 1341–1351.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Minello, T.J., K.W. Able, M.P. Weinstein, and C.G. Hays. 2003. Salt marshes as nurseries for nekton: testing hypotheses on density, growth and survival through meta-analysis. Marine Ecology Progress Series 246: 39–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Nelson, W.G. 1979. Experimental studies of selective predation on amphipods: consequences for amphipod distribution and abundance. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 38: 225–245.Google Scholar
  30. Nichols, F.H., J.K. Thompson, and L.E. Schemel. 1990. Remarkable invasion of San Francisco Bay (California, USA) by the Asian clam Potamocorbula amurensis. II. Displacement of a former community. Marine Ecology Progress Series 66: 81–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Piazzi, L., G. Ceccherelli, and F. Cinelli. 2001. Threat to macroalgal diversity: effects of the introduced green alga Caulerpa racemosa in the Mediterranean. Marine Ecology Progress Series 210: 161–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Posey, M.H. 1988. Community changes associated with the spread of an introduced seagrass, Zostera japonica. Ecology 69: 974–983.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Posey, M.H., C. Wigand, and J.C. Stevenson. 1993. Effects of an introduced plant, Hydrilla verticillata, on benthic communities in the upper Chesapeake Bay. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 37: 539–555.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Ricciardi, A. 2004. Assessing species invasions as a cause of extinction. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 19: 619.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Robinson, T.B., G.M. Branch, C.L. Griffiths, A. Govender, and P.A.R. Hockey. 2007. Changes in South African rocky intertidal invertebrate community structure associated with the invasion of the mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis. Marine Ecology Progress Series 340: 163–171.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Rozas, L.P., and W.E. Odum. 1988. Occupation of submerged aquatic vegetation by fishes: testing the roles of food and refuge. Oecologia 77: 101–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Sax, D.F., and S.D. Gaines. 2008. Species invasions and extinction: the future of native biodiversity on islands. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105: 11490–11497.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Sokal, R.R., and F.J. Rohlf. 1981. Biometry, 2nd ed. New York: Freeman. 859.Google Scholar
  39. Stachowicz, J.J., R.B. Whitlatch, and R.W. Osman. 1999. Species diversity and invasion resistance in a marine ecosystem. Science 286(5444): 1577–1579.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Stewart, T.W., and J.M. Haynes. 1994. Benthic macroinvertebrate communities of southwestern Lake Ontario following invasion of Dreissena. Journal of Great Lakes Research 20: 479–493.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Trebitz, A., S. Carpenter, P. Cunnningham, B. Johnson, R. Lillie, D. Marshall, T. Martin, R. Narf, T. Pellet, S. Stewart, C. Storlie, and J. Unmuth. 1997. A model of bluegill-largemouth bass interactions in relation to aquatic vegetation and its management. Ecological Modeling 94: 139–156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Tremain, D.M., and D.H. Adams. 1995. Seasonal variations in species diversity, abundance, and composition of fish communities in the northern Indian River Lagoon, Florida. Bulletin of Marine Science 57: 171–192.Google Scholar
  43. United State Army Corp of Engineers. 2001. Upper Mobile Bay ecosystem restoration project proposed modification of U.S. Highway 90 (Causeway). Mobile, AL, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District: 42 pp. and appendices.Google Scholar
  44. Valley, R.D., and M.T. Bremigan. 2002. Effects of macrophyte bed architecture on largemouth bass foraging: implications of exotic macrophyte invasions. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 131(2): 234–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Vitousek, P.M., C.M. D’Antonio, L.L. Loope, and R. Westbrooks. 1996. Biological invasions as global environmental change. American Scientist 84: 468–478.Google Scholar
  46. Vittor, B. A., and Associates. 2003. Mobile Bay NEP. Survey of Submerged Aquatic Vegetation. Accessed online <http://www.mobilebaynep.com/site/news_pubs/Publications/MBNEP_SAVrpt.pdf>.
  47. Warfe, D.M., and L.A. Barmuta. 2006. Habitat structure regulates food web dynamics in a freshwater macrophyte community. Oecologia 150: 141–154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Williams, S.L., and E.D. Grosholz. 2008. The invasive species challenge in estuarine and coastal environments: marrying management and science. The H.T. Odum Synthesis Essay (invited). Estuaries and Coasts 31: 3–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Zedler, J., and S. Kercher. 2004. Causes and consequences of invasive plants in wetlands: opportunities, opportunists, and outcomes. Critical Review of Plant Science 23: 431–452.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dauphin Island Sea LabDauphin IslandUSA
  2. 2.University of South AlabamaMobileUSA

Personalised recommendations