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Population traits of invasive bleak Alburnus alburnus between different habitats in Iberian fresh waters

Population traits of invasive bleak Alburnus alburnus between different habitats in Iberian fresh waters
Population traits of invasive bleak Alburnus alburnus between different habitats in Iberian fresh waters
The bleak Alburnus alburnus (L.) is a cyprinid native to most of Europe, mainly inhabiting lentic environments. This fish species is a successful invader in the Iberian Peninsula, where it was first introduced to reservoirs as forage fish during the 1990s. Bleaks threaten the highly endemic Iberian fish fauna by means of trophic competition and hybridization. Yet, little is known about the environmental biology of bleaks in the Iberian Peninsula, particularly far from impounded waters. Thus, the aim of this work was to compare seasonal and gender variation of size structure, body condition and reproductive investment of bleaks between different habitats. Only sexually mature bleaks were seasonally collected and examined from the River Gévora and the Sierra Brava Reservoir (southwestern Spain) to assess more in-depth the adaptive capacity at the population level and the subsequent invasiveness. Bleak was an abundant species in the fish assemblages of both habitat types (i.e. river and reservoir). The proportion of smaller mature bleaks was lower in the river than the reservoir during spring and the opposite pattern was observed during winter. Both male and females were larger in the river during the breeding season in the study areas (i.e. spring), as well as with higher body condition and reproductive investment. These findings suggest that bleaks enhance their reproduction rate in the river to compensate for higher mortality in this habitat, where environmental conditions may be harsher due to the winter floods and summer droughts typical of Mediterranean water courses. Overall results highlight the high degree of plasticity in population traits of the bleak in the Iberian Peninsula, which will surely aid its ability to adapt to a wide variety of Mediterranean ecosystems, including lentic and lotic environments. Consequently, this invasive fish may pose a serious risk for the highly valuable fauna of Mediterranean Europe.
Aquatic conservation, Bioinvasion, Freshwater fish, Mediterranean ecosystems, Reservoir, River, Spain
0075-9511
70-76
Almeida, David
56e581a8-d868-44a6-b111-29a3dbc35170
Stefanoudis, Paris V.
2cbf86e8-b292-4f14-8b03-c37469df1d96
Fletcher, David H.
e022dde9-9d2a-41a7-a88e-ec2ac456f474
Rangel, Carlos
e2e39b3f-7ffc-4d7a-8849-72591a97df59
da Silva, Eduardo
05f189ae-af8e-43c6-9349-1f726631fbba
Almeida, David
56e581a8-d868-44a6-b111-29a3dbc35170
Stefanoudis, Paris V.
2cbf86e8-b292-4f14-8b03-c37469df1d96
Fletcher, David H.
e022dde9-9d2a-41a7-a88e-ec2ac456f474
Rangel, Carlos
e2e39b3f-7ffc-4d7a-8849-72591a97df59
da Silva, Eduardo
05f189ae-af8e-43c6-9349-1f726631fbba

Almeida, David, Stefanoudis, Paris V., Fletcher, David H., Rangel, Carlos and da Silva, Eduardo (2014) Population traits of invasive bleak Alburnus alburnus between different habitats in Iberian fresh waters. Limnologica - Ecology and Management of Inland Waters, 46, 70-76. (doi:10.1016/j.limno.2013.12.003).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The bleak Alburnus alburnus (L.) is a cyprinid native to most of Europe, mainly inhabiting lentic environments. This fish species is a successful invader in the Iberian Peninsula, where it was first introduced to reservoirs as forage fish during the 1990s. Bleaks threaten the highly endemic Iberian fish fauna by means of trophic competition and hybridization. Yet, little is known about the environmental biology of bleaks in the Iberian Peninsula, particularly far from impounded waters. Thus, the aim of this work was to compare seasonal and gender variation of size structure, body condition and reproductive investment of bleaks between different habitats. Only sexually mature bleaks were seasonally collected and examined from the River Gévora and the Sierra Brava Reservoir (southwestern Spain) to assess more in-depth the adaptive capacity at the population level and the subsequent invasiveness. Bleak was an abundant species in the fish assemblages of both habitat types (i.e. river and reservoir). The proportion of smaller mature bleaks was lower in the river than the reservoir during spring and the opposite pattern was observed during winter. Both male and females were larger in the river during the breeding season in the study areas (i.e. spring), as well as with higher body condition and reproductive investment. These findings suggest that bleaks enhance their reproduction rate in the river to compensate for higher mortality in this habitat, where environmental conditions may be harsher due to the winter floods and summer droughts typical of Mediterranean water courses. Overall results highlight the high degree of plasticity in population traits of the bleak in the Iberian Peninsula, which will surely aid its ability to adapt to a wide variety of Mediterranean ecosystems, including lentic and lotic environments. Consequently, this invasive fish may pose a serious risk for the highly valuable fauna of Mediterranean Europe.

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More information

Published date: March 2014
Keywords: Aquatic conservation, Bioinvasion, Freshwater fish, Mediterranean ecosystems, Reservoir, River, Spain
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 365346
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/365346
ISSN: 0075-9511
PURE UUID: cf278204-2910-4fe3-9a7a-2b3c1a5116af

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 02 Jun 2014 13:33
Last modified: 16 Jul 2019 21:04

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