We assessed the extent to which an invader, Gammarus pulex (Crustacea: Amphipoda), has replaced a native, Gammarus duebeni celticus, over a 13-year period in a European river system and some of the abiotic and biotic factors that could account for this. Between 1988 and 2001, 56% of mixed-species sites had become invader-only sites, whereas no mixed sites had become native only again. The native dominated areas of higher dissolved oxygen and water quality, with the reciprocal true for the invader. Field transplant experiments revealed that native survivorship was lower in areas where it had been replaced than in areas where the invader does not yet occur. In invader-only areas, native survivorship was lower than that of the invader when kept separately and lowest when both species were kept together. We also observed predation of the native by the invader. Laboratory oxygen manipulation experiments revealed that at 30% saturation, the native's survivorship was two thirds that of the invader. We conclude that decreasing water quality favours replacement of the native by the invader.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Aquatic Science