Studies of invasion scenarios over long time periods are important to refine explanations and predictions of invasion success and impact. We used data from surveys in 1958 and 1999 of the macroinvertebrates of Lough Neagh, Northern Ireland, to assess changes in the distribution of native and introduced amphipods in relation to the wider assemblage. In 1958, the invader G. tigrinus dominated the shoreline fauna, with the native G. d. celticus present in very low numbers, whereas in 1999 the reverse was evident. In both surveys, G. tigrinus was the only amphipod present in the mid-Lough. G. tigrinus thus seems to have become established within L. Neagh, perhaps overshot and then senesced, with the native species re-establishing on the shoreline, with the invader mostly restricted to the deep mid-Lough. The non-amphipod macroinvertebrate assemblage was similar between the two surveys, in terms of Bray-Curtis community similarity, assemblage diversity, dominance and the taxa based ASPT water quality index. However, the mean density of macroinvertebrates (all taxa combined) was lower in 1999 compared to 1958, largely accounted for by a decline in oligochaete numbers. Since Gammarus species may be predators of other macroinvertebrates and influence their distribution and abundance, we investigated this trophic link in staged laboratory encounters. Both G. tigrinus and G. d. celticus preyed on isopods, alderflies, mayflies, chironomids and mysids, however, the native G. d. celticus had a significantly greater predatory impact on isopods and chironomids than did the invader G. tigrinus. While we cannot definitively ascribe cause and effect in the present scenario, we discuss how replacement of one amphipod species by another may have impacts on the wider macroinvertebrate assemblage.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Aquatic Science