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Multistate models of bigheaded carps in the Illinois River reveal spatial dynamics of invasive species

Coulter, Alison A., Brey, Marybeth K., Lubejko, Matthew, Kallis, Jahn L., Coulter, David P., Glover, David C., Whitledge, Gregory W., Garvey, James E.
Biological invasions 2018 v.20 no.11 pp. 3255-3270
Hypophthalmichthys molitrix, Hypophthalmichthys nobilis, acoustics, ecological invasion, invasive species, models, reproduction, rivers, telemetry, Great Lakes, Illinois River
Knowledge of the spatial distributions and dispersal characteristics of invasive species is necessary for managing the spread of highly mobile species, such as invasive bigheaded carps (Bighead Carp [Hypophthalmichthys nobilis] and Silver Carp [H. molitrix]). Management of invasive bigheaded carps in the Illinois River has focused on using human-made barriers and harvest to limit dispersal towards the Laurentian Great Lakes. Acoustic telemetry data were used to parameterize multistate models to examine the spatial dynamics of bigheaded carps in the Illinois River to (1) evaluate the effects of existing dams on movement, (2) identify how individuals distribute among pools, and (3) gauge the effects of reductions in movement towards the invasion front. Multistate models estimated that movement was generally less likely among upper river pools (Starved Rock, Marseilles, and Dresden Island) than the lower river (La Grange and Peoria) which matched the pattern of gated versus wicket style dams. Simulations using estimated movement probabilities indicated that Bighead Carp accumulate in La Grange Pool while Silver Carp accumulate in Alton Pool. Fewer Bighead Carp reached the upper river compared to Silver Carp during simulations. Reducing upstream movement probabilities (e.g., reduced propagule pressure) by ≥ 75% into any of the upper river pools could reduce upper river abundance with similar results regardless of location. Given bigheaded carp reproduction in the upper Illinois River is presently limited, reduced movement towards the invasion front coupled with removal of individuals reaching these areas could limit potential future dispersal towards the Great Lakes.