Projecting present and future habitat suitability of ship-mediated aquatic invasive species in the Canadian Arctic

Abstract

A rise in Arctic shipping activity resulting from global warming and resource exploitation is expected to increase the likelihood of aquatic invasive species (AIS) introductions in the region. In this context, the potential threat of future AIS incursions at a Canadian Arctic regional scale was examined. Habitat suitability under current environmental conditions and future climate change scenarios was projected for a subset of eight potential invaders ranked as having a high risk of establishment in the Canadian Arctic based on dispersal pathways/donor regions, biological attributes and invasion history: (1) Amphibalanus improvisus, (2) Botrylloides violaceus, (3) Caprella mutica, (4) Carcinus maenas, (5) Littorina littorea, (6) Membranipora membranacea, (7) Mya arenaria and (8) Paralithodes camtschaticus. Habitat modelling was performed using MaxEnt based on globally known native and non-native occurrence records and environmental ranges for these species. Results showed that under current environmental conditions the habitat is suitable in certain regions of the Canadian Arctic such as the Hudson Complex and Beaufort Sea for L. littorea, M. arenaria and P. camtschaticus. Under a future climate change scenario, all species showed poleward gains in habitat suitability with at least some regions of the Canadian Arctic projected to be suitable for the complete suite of species modelled. The use of these models is helpful in understanding potential future AIS incursions as a result of climate change and shipping at large spatial scales. These approaches can aid in the identification of high risk regions and species to allow for more focused AIS monitoring and research efforts in response to climate change.

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Acknowledgements

Special thanks to K. Adair, J. Higdon and N. Casajus for help in collating/preparing data, and to C. McKindsey, T. Therriault and C. Ware for valuable comments, discussions and suggestions for improving the work. We are grateful for funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council’s (NSERC) Canadian Aquatic Invasive Species Network (CAISN), the Fisheries and Oceans Canada Aquatic Climate Change Adaptation Service Program (ACCASP), the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board (NWMB), Quebec-Ocean and Polar Knowledge Canada. We also acknowledge the contributions of Dr. Youyu Lu, as well as the Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) and Canada Research Chair (CRC) programs. This work is a contribution to the ArcticNet Networks of Centres of Excellence and the Arctic Science Partnership (ASP) asp-net.org. The author sequence follows the ‘first-last-author-emphasis’ norm (Tscharntke et al. 2007).

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Correspondence to Jesica Goldsmit.

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Goldsmit, J., Archambault, P., Chust, G. et al. Projecting present and future habitat suitability of ship-mediated aquatic invasive species in the Canadian Arctic. Biol Invasions 20, 501–517 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-017-1553-7

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Keywords

  • Arctic
  • Biological invasions
  • Climate change
  • MaxEnt
  • Ship-mediated invasive species
  • Species distribution modelling