In many North American rivers, populations of multiple species of non-native cyprinid fishes are present, including black carp (Mylpharyngodon piceus), grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella), bighead carp (Hypophthalmichthys nobilis), silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix), common carp (Cyprinus carpio), and goldfish (Carassius auratus). All six of these species are found in the Mississippi River basin and tracking their invasion has proven difficult, particularly where abundance is low. Knowledge of the location of the invasion front is valuable to natural resource managers because future ecological and economic damages can be most effectively prevented when populations are low. To test the accuracy of environmental DNA (eDNA) as an early indicator of species occurrence and relative abundance, we applied eDNA technology to the six non-native cyprinid species putatively present in a 2.6 river mile stretch of the Chicago (IL, USA) canal system that was subsequently treated with piscicide. The proportion of water samples yielding positive detections increased with relative abundance of the six species, as indicated by the number of carcasses recovered after poisoning. New markers for black carp, grass carp, and a common carp/goldfish are reported and details of the marker testing to ensure specificity are provided.
A set of universal guidelines is needed to determine the limit of detection (LOD) in PCR-based analyses of low-concentration DNA. In particular, environmental DNA (eDNA) studies require sensitive and reliable methods to detect rare and cryptic species through shed genetic material in environmental samples. Current strategies for assessing detection limits of eDNA are either too stringent or subjective, possibly resulting in biased estimates of species' presence. Here, a conservative LOD analysis grounded in analytical chemistry is proposed to correct for overestimated DNA concentrations predominantly caused by the concentration plateau, a nonlinear relationship between expected and measured DNA concentrations. We have used statistical criteria to establish formal mathematical models for both quantitative and droplet digital PCR. To assess the method, a new Grass Carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) TaqMan assay was developed and tested on both PCR platforms using eDNA in water samples. The LOD adjustment reduced Grass Carp occupancy and detection estimates while increasing uncertainty-indicating that caution needs to be applied to eDNA data without LOD correction. Compared to quantitative PCR, digital PCR had higher occurrence estimates due to increased sensitivity and dilution of inhibitors at low concentrations. Without accurate LOD correction, species occurrence and detection probabilities based on eDNA estimates are prone to a source of bias that cannot be reduced by an increase in sample size or PCR replicates. Other applications also could benefit from a standardized LOD such as GMO food analysis and forensic and clinical diagnostics.
Aim The aim of this study was to determine whether the Casiquiare River functions as a free dispersal corridor or as a partial barrier (i.e. filter) for the interchange of fish species of the Orinoco and Negro/Amazon basins using species assemblage patterns according to geographical location and environmental features.Location The Casiquiare, Upper Orinoco and Upper Negro rivers in southern Venezuela, South America.Methods Our study was based on an analysis of species presence/absence data and environmental information (11 habitat characteristics) collected by the authors and colleagues between the years 1984 and 1999. The data set consisted of 269 sampled sites and 452 fish species (> 50,000 specimens). A wide range of habitat types was included in the samples, and the collection sites were located at various points along the entire length of the Casiquiare main channel, at multiple sites on its tributary streams, as well as at various nearby sites outside the Casiquiare drainage, within the Upper Orinoco and Upper Rio Negro river systems. Most specimens and field data used in this analysis are archived in the Museo de Ciencias Naturales in Guanare, Venezuela. We performed canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) based on species presence/absence using two versions of the data set: one that eliminated sites having < 5 species and species occurring at < 5 sites; and another that eliminated sites having < 10 species and species occurring at < 10 sites. Cluster analysis was performed on sites based on species assemblage similarity, and a separate analysis was performed on species based on CCA loadings. ResultsThe CCA results for the two versions of the data set were qualitatively the same. The dominant environmental axis contrasted assemblages and sites associated with blackwater vs. clearwater conditions. Longitudinal position on the Casiquiare River was correlated (r 2 = 0.33) with CCA axis-1 scores, reflecting clearwater conditions nearer to its origin (bifurcation of the Orinoco) and blackwater conditions nearer to its mouth (junction with the Rio Negro). The second CCA axis was most strongly associated with habitat size and structural complexity. Species associations derived from the unweighted pair-group average clustering method and pair-wise squared Euclidean distances calculated from species loadings on CCA axes 1 and 2 showed seven ecological groupings. Cluster analysis of species assemblages according to watershed revealed a stronger influence of local environmental conditions than of geographical proximity.Main conclusions Fish assemblage composition is more consistently associated with local environmental conditions than with geographical position within the river drainages. Nonetheless, the results support the hypothesis that the mainstem
Genetic analysis of introduced populations, especially in morphologically conservative taxa, can clarify introduction histories, identify management units and source populations, provide a more realistic estimate of the frequency of successful invasion, and suggest strategies for preventing further introductions. In the last 7 years, populations of swamp eels, referred to the Asian genus Monopterus ( Family Synbranchidae) on the basis of external morphology, have been discovered in aquatic habitats near Atlanta, Georgia; Tampa, Florida; North Miami, Florida; and most recently in close proximity to Everglades National Park in Homestead, Florida. Swamp eels are large predators capable of dispersal over land and have the potential to disrupt already threatened ecosystems. We analyzed mitochondrial DNA sequences from four known populations in the continental United States and samples from Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, and two locations in China to determine introduction histories, source populations, genetic diversity, and relationships among populations. Our results indicate that there have been at least three independent introductions of genetically distinct forms. Introduced populations in close proximity (separated by <40 km) are genetically distinct. The level of sequence difference among introduced populations reaches levels seen among sister families of teleost fishes for the same region of the mitochondrial genome. These genetically distinct introduced populations in all likelihood represent at least two and possibly three species. Regardless of species status, these genetically distinct lineages may be expected to vary in ecological or life‐history traits, representing different potential threats to the ecosystems where they have been introduced. Given the success of swamp eels in invading many habitats around the world, further study of these eels is warranted to elucidate the characteristics of successful invaders and invasions.
In 2007, the invasive ctenophore Mnemiopsis leidyi was observed for the first time in Limfjorden (Denmark) where it exhibited mass occurrence in late summer while the indigenous and usually dominating common jellyfish, Aurelia aurita, was nearly absent. Both species were further studied in 2008 and 2009 and it was found that the additional predation pressure by M. leidyi caused the zooplankton stocks to be severely depressed. Here, we report on the population dynamics and predation impact of M. leidyi and A. aurita in Limfjorden in 2010 and 2011. In 2010, M. leidyi was observed in Limfjorden for the first time in August with the highest density and largest size in the central parts (Skive Fjord). The estimated half-life of zooplankton (copepods) was only important in Skive Fjord in mid August 2010 when the jointpredation impact of A. aurita and M. leidyi was 2.3 d. In 2011, no M. leidyi were observed on the first cruise (3 August), while during the second cruise (17 November) it was observed in large numbers. The western most location (Venø Bugt) was dominated by large sized (≤ 60 mm) M. leidyi, while the average size decreased towards the central parts of the fjord-system. The proportion of cydippid larvae increased from west to the central parts thus suggesting rapid reproduction and population-size expansion. The bio-volumes of ctenophores were highest in the central part with 85 ml m -3 in Løgstør Bredning, which may be compared to the greatest mean bio-volume of about 184 ml m -3 observed in the Black Sea in 1989 when the zooplankton and fish stocks collapsed. Analysis of available hydrographic data and model calculations indicates that re-invasion of M. leidyi from the North Sea seeded the autumn population in Limfjorden in mid-September.
ABSTRACT1. Salinity tolerance is one of several important physiological attributes that determine invasion success and the pattern of dispersal of introduced aquatic organisms. Introduced freshwater fishes able to tolerate elevated salinities have the potential to invade and exploit brackish-water (mixohaline) environments and use estuaries and coastal waters as 'bridges' for dispersing from one coastal river system to another.2. Several members of the neotropical suckermouth armoured catfish genus Pterygoplichthys (Siluriformes: Loricariidae) have established non-native populations in inland waters of North and Central America, Asia and islands in the Caribbean, and Pacific and Indian oceans. Loricariids are generally considered to be strictly freshwater; but a few naturally occur in mesohaline habitats.3. Catch and habitat data from 2004-2005 and 2009-2011 fish surveys in the Grijalva-Usumacinta River delta region (south-eastern Mexico) confirmed that introduced Pterygoplichthys populations established in upstream freshwater sites (where these catfish are abundant) have recently dispersed into downstream oligohaline and mesohaline estuarine habitats. During 2009-2011 surveys, these non-native catfish -tentatively identified as P. pardalis or its hybrids -were found in sites with salinities ranging from 1 to 8 ppt (mean 5.2 ppt).4. Acute-salinity experiments were conducted with Pterygoplichthys (110-302 mm standard length, N = 140) captured in the Grijalva-Usumacinta Basin to determine upper salinity tolerance levels. Tests demonstrated that individuals maintained in salinities of 0.2 ppt were able to survive abrupt (acute) exposure to salinities up to 10 ppt with little mortality over 10 days (240 h experimental endpoint). A few individuals survived abrupt exposure to 11 and 12 ppt for 20 or more hours, although none survived more than a few hours at 16 ppt or greater.5. These field and experimental results provide quantitative evidence that non-native Pterygoplichthys are physiologically capable of surviving mesohaline conditions for extended periods and that non-native populations in Mexico are invading and presumably exploiting estuarine and other coastal environments, perhaps as feeding areas and potentially as dispersal routes.
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