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Evolution of invasive species: characterization and effects ofadaptive changes in Bythotrephes tail spine

The predatory cladoceran Bythotrephes longimanus (the spiny water  flea) has been identified as one of several recent invasive species of  great threat to the Great Lakes (Shuter and Mason 2  1; Vanderploeg et  al. 2  2; Barbiero and Tuchman 2  4). As with other aquatic exotic  species, Bythotrephes has the potential to affect ecosystems through  competition with and predation on native species (Ludsin and Wolfe  2  1), by altering nutrient cycles (Mack et al. 2   ), and shifting  the direction of energy flow (Mills et al. 2  3; Jaeger 2  6). Such  ecosystem effects of invasive species affect society in numerous ways  (Mills et al. 1994; Hall and Mills 2   ; Facon et al. 2  5), including  damaging commercial and recreational fisheries (Mills et al. 1994).  Bythotrephes may be particularly disruptive to the food web, causing  direct and indirect effects on fish stocks and the broader food web,  because of its central place in the food web between top predators and  secondary producers (Vanderploeg et al. 2  2; Figure 1). Most previous  studies investigating the dynamics of food web disruption have focused  on changes in the abundance of invaders. However, changes in  interaction strengths can be as or more important to the overall  effect of an invader, yet these effects have only begun to be  investigated. We propose to build on and expand current ecological  work by investigating the effects of rapid evolutionary changes in an  exotic species on its trophic interactions. That is: we will  investigate whether evolutionary processes affect the ecology of  invasive species, which in turn would influence their spread and  effects. This research is designed to: 1) specifically, increase our  understanding of Bythotrephes effects on fish and lower trophic levels  in the food web; and 2) more generally, determine how evolution  affects food web properties including resilience and species  interaction strengths. 

In progress
Start Date
End Date
Scott PeacorResearcher
Associated with 5 projects
Scope of Study
Field Investigation
Literature / Existing Data
Scale of Phenomena
Natural Ecological Processes
Economic Impact Study
Biology And Life History
Control And Mitigation
Biological Interactions (Predator/Prey)
Ecosystem Effects
Food Web Structure
Annex Numbers
Research & Development
Annex 17
Impact of water quality and AIS on fish and wildlife populations and habitats
Aquatic Nuisance Species
  • Annex Numbers
    Annex Numbers
    Research & Development
  • Annex 17
    Annex 17
    Impact of water quality and AIS on fish and wildlife populations and habitats

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