An introduced invertebrate predator (Bythotrephes) reduces zooplankton species richness

Authors

  • Norman D. Yan,

    Corresponding author
    1. Biology Department, York University, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, ON, Canada, M3J 1P3.,
    2. Dorset Environmental Science Centre, Ontario Ministry of Environment, Box 39, Dorset, ON, Canada, P0A 1E0.
      Correspondence to: Norman D. Yan, Present address: York University, Department of Biology, c/o Dorset Environmental Science Centre, Box 39, Dorset, ON, Canada, P0A 1E0. E-mail: yanno@ene.gov.on.ca
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  • Robert Girard,

    1. Dorset Environmental Science Centre, Ontario Ministry of Environment, Box 39, Dorset, ON, Canada, P0A 1E0.
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  • Stephanie Boudreau

    1. Biology Department, York University, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, ON, Canada, M3J 1P3.,
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  • Editor, J. P. Grover

Correspondence to: Norman D. Yan, Present address: York University, Department of Biology, c/o Dorset Environmental Science Centre, Box 39, Dorset, ON, Canada, P0A 1E0. E-mail: yanno@ene.gov.on.ca

Abstract

Rarely do ecologists have the data needed to assess the impacts of invading species on biodiversity, i.e. pre- and post-invasion census information from both invaded and control sites. Using a 21-year time series, we demonstrate that the invasion of Harp Lake, Ontario, Canada, by the Eurasian spiny water flea, Bythotrephes longimanus, a zooplanktivore, was accompanied by a rapid and long-lasting reduction in the average species richness of crustacean zooplankton, particularly of cladoceran taxa. No such reduction was observed in seven nearby un-invaded lakes over the same two decades. If the Harp Lake results are typical, we predict a widespread reduction in crustacean zooplankton richness on the Canadian Shield for three reasons. Shield lakes provide the invader with good habitat. Its dispersal rates and colonization success are high. Zooplankton richness in Harp Lake is now unusually low for a Shield Lake of its size and acidity.

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