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Biological Invasions Sep and Oct 2013

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    September issue:

    Public perspectives on genetic biocontrol technologies for controlling invasive fish

    Understanding people’s knowledge, attitudes, and concerns about genetic biocontrol can help researchers understand the challenges and opportunities that may be encountered during development of these technologies. This study conducted eight focus groups in the United States Great Lakes and Lake Champlain region to assess different stakeholders’ views about genetic biocontrol technology, factors affecting whether or not they support its use, and recommendations on how to proceed with its development. Stakeholders were excited about having a new invasive species control tool, but they were deeply concerned about potential unintended consequences. The primary concerns relate to ecological impacts, along with the cost of development and the possibility that such efforts will distract from other, ongoing control work. Participants made a number of recommendations to genetic biocontrol developers, including setting up regulatory systems, conducting independent cost benefit analyses and risk assessments, and engaging stakeholders throughout the development process.

    October issue:

    Using a unified invasion framework to characterize Africa’s first loricariid catfish invasion

    This paper presents evidence of establishment of a loricariid population in the Nseleni River in South Africa and uses a unified framework to determine its invasion stage. Specimens were identified morphologically as Pterygioplichthys disjunctivus (Weber 1991), but genetic barcoding results indicated close association with specimens that may have a hybrid history. The species was introduced into South Africa via the pet trade and the first record of introduction into the wild was in 2004. Samples collected in 2011 and 2012 demonstrated that there were multiple length cohorts in the population including juveniles (12–130 mm total length TL) and large (>300 mm TL) adult fish. Gonadal assessment of adults demonstrated the presence of reproduction capable specimens. The concurrent occurrence of mature adults and juvenile fish demonstrated establishment. Locality records indicate that P. disjunctivus has already spread between two rivers through an inter basin water transfer. Using a unified framework for invasions this invasion was categorized as a self-sustaining population in the wild with individuals surviving and reproducing a significant distance from their original point of introduction. Containment is suggested as potential management strategy.

    Asian aquarium fishes in a Neotropical biodiversity hotspot: impeding establishment, spread and impacts

    We provide evidence of reproductive activities of nine Asian freshwater fish species belonging to three families in Atlantic Forest creeks located in the Paraíba do Sul River basin, southeastern Brazil, an area rich in endemic and endangered fish fauna. These non-native fishes were introduced into the natural systems by both accidental and intentional releases from ornamental fish farms in the region. Adults of all species were found reproducing during virtually all year round and showed fractionated spawning. Imature individuals (young-of-the-year and juveniles) were also frequent in the five sites. Most of the total sex ratios were close to 1:1. The frequent releases, warm water temperature, marginal vegetation providing food, protection and spawning sites, and the low richness of native fishes in these creeks can facilitate the establishment process of all species. The creeks can also act as dispersing agents of non-native fishes after flash floods, leading to biotic homogenization or differentiation in the local fish community, competition with native fishes, and parasite dissemination. Given the flourishing aquaculture activity in the area, it is expected that these and other non-native species cause extensive modifications in the regional ichthyofauna.

    Genetic characterization of the invasive mosquitofish (Gambusia spp.) introduced to Europe: population structure and colonization routes

    Biological invasions are considered one of the main anthropogenic factors that reduce the abundance of native species. Understanding the patterns of population structure and behavior of introduced species is important to determine invasion sources and pathways, in addition to improving the protective management of native species. Thus, we set out to advance our knowledge about the mosquitofish Gambusia spp., which is an invasive species that was introduced to southern Europe in 1921 to control mosquito populations. We assessed the genetic diversity and population structure of this species at 13 European locations, by screening variation at six microsatellite loci. We also evaluated six American samples (four of G. holbrooki and two of G. affinis) to identify the most likely source of the populations that established in Europe, and to determine whether G. affinisis also present. The results showed that, while there was evidence of recent bottleneck events in a few isolated locations, most introduced populations harbored a considerable amount of gene diversity, probably because of multiple introductions and secondary contacts. Populations displayed strong genetic differentiation that was mainly associated with geographical distance. At least two main routes of colonization of G. holbrooki seem to have occurred in Europe. The first, and more ancient colonization, was consistent with historical records, with the species invading the Iberian Peninsula. A second and more recent colonization probably occurred in Greece and, from there, France. The presence of G. affinis was not detected in any of the European samples.

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