Physicochemical tolerance, habitat use and predation are drivers of patterns of coexistence and exclusion among invasive and resident amphipods

Calum MacNeil, Jaimie T. A. Dick

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14 Citations (Scopus)
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1. Patterns of coexistence and exclusion among resident and invading species in freshwaters may be generated by direct biotic interactions well as by indirect interactions with the broader abiotic and biotic environments. The North American ‘shrimp’ Crangonyx pseudogracilis (Crustacea: Amphipoda) is invasive in Europe where it forms complex patterns of apparent exclusion and coexistence with resident Gammarus spp. amphipods. Using a comprehensive integrated approach, we investigated the potential biotic and interacting abiotic factors driving these distribution patterns.
2. A 2009 of 69 sites revealed that of 56 river sites containing amphipods only 6 contained C. pseudogracilis and these always co-occurred with Gammarus spp.. In contrast, C. pseudogracilis was the only species present in the 12 ponds/reservoirs containing amphipods.
3. Field transplant experiments in ponds and laboratory oxygen tolerance experiments revealed that C. pseudogracilis tolerates physicochemical regimes which Gammarus spp. are incapable of surviving.
4. River microhabitat sampling showed C. pseudogracilis dominating in slower, more pooled and macrophyte-dense patches, while Gammarus spp. were dominant in faster, more riffled areas.
5. Field bioassays indicated that predation of C. pseudogracilis by Gammarus spp. may be frequent in patches of rivers if/when the species meet.
6. River drift sampling revealed that C. pseudogracilis was greatly underrepresented in night/day drift relative to the Gammarus spp.. Laboratory studies showed C. pseudogracilis to be more photophobic and less active than Gammarus spp., both behaviours potentially contributing to low drift prevalence and consequent reduced exposure to shared drift predators.
7. These interacting factors may ultimately contribute to the coexistence, exclusion and relative distributions of C. pseudogracilis and Gammarus spp.. The former is potentially subject to intense predation from the latter if they encounter one another in the same microhabitat. However, with C. pseudogracilis being more physicochemically tolerant and displaying different habitat utilisation patterns than the Gammarus spp. in respect of the benthos and drift, such encounters are probably minimised. Hence C. pseudogracilis can persist in the same sites with the Gammarus spp., albeit in different microhabitats.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1956-1969
Number of pages14
JournalFreshwater Biology
Issue number9
Early online date19 Jun 2014
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2014

Bibliographical note

Correspondence: Calum MacNeil, Environmental Protection Unit, Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture, Isle of Man Government, Thie Slieau Whallian, Foxdale Road, St. Johns IM4 3AS, Isle of Man.
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