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Range estimates and habitat use of invasive Silver Carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix): evidence of sedentary and mobile individuals

Austin R. Prechtel, Alison A. Coulter, Luke Etchison, P. Ryan Jackson, Reuben R. Goforth
Hydrobiologia 2018 v.805 no.1 pp. 203-218
Hypophthalmichthys molitrix, ecosystems, fish, habitats, home range, indigenous species, invasive species, landscapes, rivers
Unregulated rivers provide unobstructed corridors for the dispersal of both native and invasive species. We sought to evaluate range size and habitat use of an invasive species (Silver Carp, Hypophthalmichthys molitrix) in an unimpounded river reach (Wabash River, IN), to provide insights into the dispersal of invasive species and their potential overlap with native species. We hypothesized that range size would increase with fish length, be similar among sexes, and vary annually while habitats used would be deeper, warmer, lower velocity, and of finer substrate. Silver Carp habitat use supported our hypotheses but range size did not vary with sex or length. 75% home range varied annually, suggesting that core areas occupied by individuals may change relative to climate-based factors (e.g., water levels), whereas broader estimates of range size remained constant across years. Ranges were often centered on landscape features such as tributaries and backwaters. Results of this study indicate habitat and landscape features as potential areas where Silver Carp impacts on native ecosystems may be the greatest. Observed distribution of range sizes indicates the presence of sedentary and mobile individuals within the population. Mobile individuals may be of particular importance as they drive the spread of the invasive species into new habitats.