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An introduced Asian parasite threatens northeastern Pacific estuarine ecosystems

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Abstract

The introduced Asian parasitic bopyrid isopod, Orthione griffenis, was first discovered on the Pacific coast of North America in Washington in 1988 and next in California in 1992. The range of Orthione presently extends from British Columbia to Baja California, where it infests at least two species of the native estuary mud shrimp, Upogebia. Intense Orthione infestations are associated with the apparent demise of many local populations of Upogebia pugettensis yet nonindigenous origins of Orthione in North America and thus the ecological significance of its impacts have remained in doubt. Six criteria reveal that Orthione is introduced to North America: its conspecificity with disjunct Asian populations, its earliest (1950s) collections in Asia, its late discovery among symbiotic species associated with Upogebia, its historical absence, and its appearance in North America coincident with extensive new ballast water traffic from Asia. Orthione is the first recognized bopyrid isopod invasion globally. Coexistence of U. pugettensis, which are ecosystem engineers, with its newly acquired parasite cannot be assumed. Orthione threatens eastern Pacific estuary ecosystems where Upogebia were previously abundant.

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Acknowledgments

Washington State contingency funds for biological control of burrowing shrimp partially funded this research. James Carlton, Alan Shanks, and Kathy Hieb forwarded zooplankton samples and notes. Ardis Johnston (Harvard University Museum of Comparative Zoology), Bob Van Syoc (California Academy of Sciences), Eric Hochberg (Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History) and Leslie Harris and Regina Wetzer (Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History) assisted with their respective collections. We thank George Boehlert, Ryan Hechinger, Armand Kuris, Bill Peterson and Alan Shanks for insightful comments and advice. Mary Jo Adams, Ernesto Campos, Francis Choi, Andy Cohen, Anthony D’Andrea, Rusty Fairey, Tom Gaumer, Travis Goodman, Greg Jensen, Eugene Kozloff, Michael McGowan, Todd Newberry, John Pearse, Bruno Pernet, Martin Posey, Austin Pritchard, Jerry Rudy, Erik Thuesen, Cynthia Trowbridge, Kristen Wasson and Jason Williams provided pre- and post 1990 s data, specimens, or accounts of eastern Pacific Upogebia and Orthione populations. Susan Swarbrick, Jeff Crooks, Ralph Breitenstein, Eric Robbins, Carol Cole, Lee McCoy, and Cara Fritz helped with sampling, data and analyses. We thank Sylvia Yamada, Jennifer Ruesink and James Carlton for their critical reviews of the manuscript.

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Chapman, J.W., Dumbauld, B.R., Itani, G. et al. An introduced Asian parasite threatens northeastern Pacific estuarine ecosystems. Biol Invasions 14, 1221–1236 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-011-0151-3

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