Impacts of Invasive Freshwater Fish on Native Fauna and Aquatic Ecosystems

A special issue of Diversity (ISSN 1424-2818). This special issue belongs to the section "Freshwater Biodiversity".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 August 2024 | Viewed by 5173

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Centro de Ciências do Mar e do Ambiente (MARE), Faculdade de Ciências, Campo Grande, Universidade de Lisboa, 1749-016 Lisboa, Portugal
Interests: freshwater fish ecology; invasive species; stable isotope ecology; fish biodiversity; ecosystem function

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Guest Editor
Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Institute of Marine Biological Resources and Inland Waters, 19013 Athens, Greece
Interests: freshwater ecology and management; distributional ecology of native and alien freshwater fish; conservation and protection of freshwater ecosystems

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Guest Editor
Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, Institute of Marine Biological Resources and Inland Waters, 24100 Kalamata, Greece
Interests: ecological quality assessments of lotic ecosystems; assessments of drought and post drought effects on freshwater fish, distributional ecology of native and alien freshwater fish; conservation of freshwater fish species

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

One of the leading factors of freshwater biodiversity loss and degradation of aquatic ecosystems is the human-induced introduction of alien fish species. Unraveling the interactions of invasive freshwater fish with native species, as well as their ecological impacts, remains a complex task. In addition, the design and implementation of appropriate management actions to tackle the spread and negative impacts of invasive fish species are still understudied.

This Special Issue has a relatively wide scope and attempts to collect case study articles that address the interactions of freshwater invasive species with native fauna, as well as their ecological impacts. Furthermore, manuscripts that describe either theoretical or practiced successful management approaches to control and manage invasive fish species in aquatic ecosystems that might not have been described in the peer-reviewed literature before are especially encouraged. Short communications, new records of invasive species into new localities and applications of invasiveness screening tools are also welcomed. 

Dr. Christos Gkenas
Dr. Nicholas Koutsikos
Dr. Leonidas Vardakas
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • ecological impacts
  • invasive fishes
  • rivers
  • lakes
  • eradication
  • management
  • control
  • freshwater

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

16 pages, 2393 KiB  
Article
Nationwide Tracing of Two Top Freshwater Fish Invaders in Greece Using Environmental DNA Sampling
by Eleni Kalogianni, Nektarios Kalaitzakis, Leonidas Vardakas, Nicholas Koutsikos, Brian Zimmerman, Sarah Meek, Laura Weldon, Stephanie Sargeant and Mark D. Steer
Diversity 2024, 16(1), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16010028 - 31 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1441
Abstract
Alien fish invasions are causing devastating impacts on native freshwater fauna; thus, rigorous, non-invasive and cost-effective biomonitoring of lotic and lentic freshwaters to design and implement appropriate prevention and control measures is now a priority. In this study, we used a species-specific qPCR [...] Read more.
Alien fish invasions are causing devastating impacts on native freshwater fauna; thus, rigorous, non-invasive and cost-effective biomonitoring of lotic and lentic freshwaters to design and implement appropriate prevention and control measures is now a priority. In this study, we used a species-specific qPCR eDNA assay to monitor two of the most invasive fish species (Gambusia holbrooki and Pseudorasbora parva) in 15 river basins of Greece and validated these results with conventional fish sampling as well as existing field sampling data. Our monitoring provided new records of invasive species indicating basins for rigorous future monitoring and possible eradication attempts. The eDNA proved more sensitive as a detection tool (56% detection rate) compared to conventional electrofishing (50% detection rate) for G. holbrooki. In contrast, it proved less sensitive for detecting P. parva (38% accuracy) compared to electrofishing (44% accuracy), as evident by the two locations where the eDNA failed to detect the target species. Our study illustrates the potential of the eDNA method for regular, standardised monitoring of riverine habitats for invasive fish species by local managers for early detection. Finally, we discuss the application of eDNA in management interventions for identifying invasive species’ hotspots for management prioritisation, for early detection of invaders and for the monitoring of eradication/control actions. Full article
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14 pages, 4036 KiB  
Article
Non-Indigenous Freshwater Fishes as Indicators of Ecological Quality in Running Waters
by Christos Gkenas, Leonidas Vardakas and Nicholas Koutsikos
Diversity 2024, 16(1), 9; https://doi.org/10.3390/d16010009 - 22 Dec 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1011
Abstract
The European Union Water Framework Directive (WFD) is a comprehensive initiative guiding river basin water management, addressing pressures such as pollution from diffuse and point sources, and hydromorphological alterations. However, pressures that can deteriorate the ecological quality of water bodies through biotic changes [...] Read more.
The European Union Water Framework Directive (WFD) is a comprehensive initiative guiding river basin water management, addressing pressures such as pollution from diffuse and point sources, and hydromorphological alterations. However, pressures that can deteriorate the ecological quality of water bodies through biotic changes (i.e., by the introduction of non-indigenous species) are not rigorously addressed by the WFD. This study explores associations between conventional ecological quality indices based on physicochemical and biotic quality elements (fish and macroinvertebrates) against the presence and densities of non-indigenous freshwater fish species (NIFS) in lotic ecosystems of Greece, aiming to unravel the potential usage of NIFS in future ecological assessments. The dataset comprises 277 samplings at 115 sites, covering physicochemical and biotic (fish and macroinvertebrate) quality indices, and anthropogenic pressure variables. Based on our findings, the occurrence and densities of four NIFS (Lepomis gibbosus, Pseudorasbora parva, Gambusia holbrooki, and Carassius gibelio) were highly associated with the ecological quality assessments of the applied indices. Higher occurrences and densities of these NIFS were related to samplings of lower ecological quality. In addition, NIFS exhibited a positive association with anthropogenic pressures, likely due to their adaptability to less optimal environmental conditions or higher tolerance to pollution and other stressors. Our findings underscore the need for a paradigm shift in ecological quality assessments, emphasizing the use of NIFS either as a potential indicator of ecosystem health or as a pressure that deteriorates ecological quality. Full article
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10 pages, 1183 KiB  
Article
Distribution of Alien and Translocated Freshwater Fish Species in Bulgarian Lotic Ecosystems, according to the WFD Classification
by Apostolos Apostolou
Diversity 2023, 15(9), 954; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15090954 - 24 Aug 2023
Viewed by 774
Abstract
The terms ‘non-native’, ‘non-indigenous’, ‘alien’, and ‘exotic’ refer to species or races that do not occur naturally in an area, i.e., they have not previously existed there, or their dispersal into the area has been mediated by humans. In a broad sense, these [...] Read more.
The terms ‘non-native’, ‘non-indigenous’, ‘alien’, and ‘exotic’ refer to species or races that do not occur naturally in an area, i.e., they have not previously existed there, or their dispersal into the area has been mediated by humans. In a broad sense, these terms can refer to species that may originate within the same region or country but not occur naturally in a particular water body until colonization is facilitated by humans. In Bulgaria, some efforts have been made to summarize the distribution of alien fish species, but nothing is known about the translocated species. Here, both groups are considered according to the Water Framework Directive’s (WFD) classification of lotic ecosystems: the main ichthyogeographical regions, the river typology, and the ecological status of the Biological Quality Element (BQE) “Fish”. In total, 7 alien species and 15 translocated species were established, with approximately the same total number of specimens. In general, even though the relative abundance of non-native species reaches 100% in single cases, their total numbers are low, compared to native species. Concerning certain basins/river types, these percentages are slightly higher, due to a complex of parameters determining their distribution: environmental factors (hydromorphological) reflecting the ecological (species’ requirements and tolerance) factors. Some river types are more vulnerable to colonization. The relative abundances of the non-native fish species per sampling site showed a weak connection with the ecological status of the BQE “Fish”. As the distribution of organisms is affected by environmental parameters and biotic interactions, standardized multiannual data, as viewed by the WFD, could become a solid basis for elucidating various aspects of this complex issue. Full article
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15 pages, 1874 KiB  
Article
Notes on the Summer Life History Traits of the Non-Native Pumpkinseed (Lepomis gibbosus) (Linnaeus, 1758) in a High-Altitude Artificial Lake
by Alexandra S. Douligeri, Athina Ziou, Athanasios Korakis, Nikolaos Kiriazis, Nikolaos Petsis, George Katselis and Dimitrios K. Moutopoulos
Diversity 2023, 15(8), 910; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15080910 - 2 Aug 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1245
Abstract
In the present study, the biology of the pumpkinseed Lepomis gibbosus in the artificial lake of Aoos, located in northwestern Greece, was investigated. The samplings of the pumpkinseed were conducted from the shore using a portable electrofishing device over a 4-month period (July [...] Read more.
In the present study, the biology of the pumpkinseed Lepomis gibbosus in the artificial lake of Aoos, located in northwestern Greece, was investigated. The samplings of the pumpkinseed were conducted from the shore using a portable electrofishing device over a 4-month period (July 2021–October 2021). A total of 581 specimens were caught, with an average length of 62 mm. The sex ratio of female to male was estimated to be 1.0:1.7, and the percentage of mature specimens was estimated for all of the months to be above 52%, matching the highest percentage in July (57.4%). The b value of the length–weight relationship ranged from 3.16 in September to 3.31 in July. The value of the L∞ and K was estimated to be equal to 119 mm and 0.36 years−1, respectively, and the value of φ′ was equal to 3.707. The total mortality was estimated to be equal to 1.63 ± 0.48 y−1 (R2 = 0.96), and the natural and fishing mortalities were 0.83 and 0.80, respectively. The maximum age was 6 years, and the theoretical maximum age was 8 years. In the current study, the value of the L∞ was estimated to be near the European average but significantly lower than the North American one, whereas the value of the K was slightly higher than the European average. The small size of the specimens obtained in Aoos Springs was most likely owed to the combined impact of the investigated lake’s high altitude and low food availability, resulting in a limited factor for species expansion. Full article
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