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The spread, establishment and impacts of the spiny water flea, Bythotrephes longimanus, in temperate North America: a synopsis of the special issue

Yan, Norman D., Leung, Brian, Lewis, Mark A., Peacor, Scott D.
Biological invasions 2011 v.13 no.11 pp. 2423-2432
Bythotrephes longimanus, anthropogenic activities, biodiversity, biologists, case studies, climate change, ecological invasion, ecologists, humans, invasive species, models, networks, researchers, risk assessment, watersheds, Great Lakes, North America
More than most sub-disciplines of ecology, the study of biological invasions is characterized by breadth rather than by depth. Studies of expanding ranges of invaders are common, as are post-invasion case studies, but we rarely have a deep understanding of the dynamics and regulators of the processes of invasion and resultant ecological transformations. This is unfortunate because such depth may well be needed to develop targeted, knowledge-based, management plans. In this collection we provide this needed depth of study of the key aspects of the invasion process for the spiny water flea, Bythotrephes longimanus. We do so by presenting the results of the work conducted by researchers in the Canadian Aquatic Invasive Species Network (CAISN), and several of their American and European collaborators over the past half decade. Given its rapid spread in the Great Lakes basin in North America, and the decreases in pelagic biodiversity that have ensued, the last decade has witnessed a surge of research on Bythotrephes. In this collection we learn much about mechanisms and dynamics of its spread, about the key role of humans in that spread, about the importance of Allee effects to establishment and persistence, about choices and parameterization of risk assessment models, about the value of comparing “effects” in native and invaded regions, about complex probable interactions of the invasion with impending changes in the climate, and about the regulators of the invader’s abundance and impacts. There should be much of interest in the collection for aquatic ecologists and invading species biologists alike.