Lake Superior: an invasion coldspot?

Abstract

Lake Superior receives a disproportionate number of ballast water discharges from transoceanic ships operating on the Laurentian Great Lakes. Although this provides dispersal opportunities for nonindigenous species (NIS), relatively few NIS were initially discovered in this lake prior to being recorded elsewhere in the basin. A lack of NIS records from this lake may be an artefact of sampling bias. We tested this hypothesis by sampling benthos and plankton from littoral and deepwater habitats around the perimeter of Lake Superior during June and August 2001. Using morphological analysis techniques, we identified a total of 230 invertebrate taxa representing planktonic, benthic and nektonic lifestyles. Five species with invasion histories in the lower Great Lakes, the bivalves Sphaerium corneum, Pisidium amnicum and P. moitessierianum, gastropod Potamopyrgus antipodarum and amphipod Echinogammarus ischnus, were identified for the first time in Lake Superior. In addition, records of expanded distributions within this lake are presented for the amphipod Gammarus fasciatus and oligochaetes Ripistes parasita and Vejdovskyella intermedia. Recently introduced NIS in Lake Superior were found near international ports, implicating shipping as the vector of their introduction. Intrinsic physical-chemical aspects of Lake Superior may account for the scarcity of NIS in this lake as compared to the lower Great Lakes.

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Grigorovich, I.A., Korniushin, A.V., Gray, D.K. et al. Lake Superior: an invasion coldspot?. Hydrobiologia 499, 191–210 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1026335300403

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  • nonindigenous species
  • introduction
  • invasion
  • ballast water
  • Great Lakes
  • Sphaerium corneum
  • Pisidium amnicum
  • Pisidium moitessierianum
  • Potamopyrgus antipodarum
  • Echinogammarus ischnus
  • Gammarus fasciatus
  • Ripistes parasita
  • Dreissena polymorpha
  • Vejdovskyella