Taylor, C.M. & Duggan, I.C. (2012). Can biotic resistance be utilized to reduce establishment rates of non-indigenous species in constructed waters? Biological invasions, 14(2), 307-322.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/5615
Understanding the mechanisms that facilitate establishment of non-indigenous species is imperative for devising techniques to reduce invasion rates. Passively dispersing non-indigenous organisms, including zooplankton, seemingly invade constructed waters (e.g., ornamental ponds, dams and reservoirs) at faster rates than natural lakes. A common attribute of these invaded water bodies is their relatively young age, leading to the assertion that low biotic resistance may lead to their higher vulnerability. Our aim was to determine if seeding of young water bodies with sediments containing diapausing stages of native zooplankton could accelerate community development, leading to greater biotic resistance to the establishment of new species. Twenty outdoor tanks were filled with water (1,400 L) and nutrients added to attain eutrophic conditions. Ten treatment tanks had sediments added, sourced from local water bodies. In the remaining ten, sediments were autoclaved, and received zooplankton via natural dispersal only. In an initial 12 month monitoring period, species richness increased at a greater rate in the treatment tanks (at 12 months average standing richness per tank = 3.8, accumulated richness = 8.2) than control tanks (2.6 and 5.0, P\0.05). Treatment tanks developed assemblages with greater proportions of species adapted to pelagic conditions, such as planktonic cladocerans and copepods, while control tanks generally comprised of smaller, littoral dwelling, rotifers. Analysis of similarities indicated community composition differed between the control and treatment groups at 12 months (P\0.01). Two copepod, four rotifer and one cladoceran species were intentionally added to tanks at 12 months. In the 3 month post-introduction period, five of these species established populations in the control tanks, while only two species established in the treatment tanks. The calanoid copepod Skistodiaptomus pallidus, for example, a non-indigenous species confined to constructed waters in New Zealand, established exclusively in tanks where native calanoid copepod species were absent (primarily control tanks). Our study suggests that biotic resistance could play an important role in reducing the establishment rate of non-indigenous zooplankton. It also provides evidence that seeding constructed water bodies with sediments containing diapausing eggs of native species may provide an effective management tool to reduce establishment rates of non-indigenous zooplankton.