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Keywords:

  • Cyprinus carpio;
  • global warming;
  • invasion pathway;
  • propagule pressure;
  • Silurus glanis

Summary

1. Temperate regions with fish communities dominated by cold-water species (physiological optima <20 °C) are vulnerable to the effects of warming temperatures caused by climate change, including displacement by non-native cool-water (physiological optima 20–28 °C) and warm-water fishes (physiological optima >28 °C) that are able to establish and invade as the thermal constraints on the expression of their life history traits diminish.

2. England and Wales is a temperate region into which at least 38 freshwater fishes have been introduced, although 14 of these are no longer present. Of the remaining 24 species, some have persisted but failed to establish, some have established populations without becoming invasive and some have become invasive. The aim of the study was to predict the responses of these 24 non-native fishes to the warming temperatures of England and Wales predicted under climate change in 2050.

3. The predictive use of climate-matching models and an air and water temperature regression model suggested that there are six non-native fishes currently persistent but not established in England and Wales whose establishment and subsequent invasion would benefit substantially from the predicted warming temperatures. These included the common carp Cyprinus carpio and European catfish Silurus glanis, fishes that also exert a relatively high propagule pressure through stocking to support angling and whose spatial distribution is currently increasing significantly, including in open systems.

4. The potential ecological impacts of the combined effects of warming temperatures, current spatial distribution and propagule pressure on the establishment and invasion of C. carpio and Sglanis were assessed. The ecological consequences of Ccarpio invasion were assessed as potentially severe in England and Wales, with impacts likely to relate to habitat destruction, macrophyte loss and increased water turbidity. However, evidence of ecological impacts of Sglanis elsewhere in their introduced range was less clear and so their potential impacts in England and Wales remain uncertain.