Lessons From a Long History of Fish Invasions
The European Perch, brought for angling by earlier settlers, has had severe effects on a number of native Australian fish (Image Credit: Karelj)
Transport pathways shape the biogeography of alien freshwater fishes in Australia (2018) Garcia-Diaz et al., Biodiversity Research, DOI: 10.1111/ddi.12777
Invasive species are a problem in every type of ecosystem, be it by reduction of local diversity, or negative effects on a region’s economy or human health. Freshwater rivers and lakes are no exceptions to this. Invasive fish have impacts on local habitats which include outcompeting or just flat out eating local species, changing a habitat’s entire structure (say by clearing away aquatic vegetation or increasing pH levels) and the reorganisation of the entire population of a lake or river, from the birds that nest on the shoreline to the tiny planktonic species that are the base food source of the entire ecosystem. Once an invasive species is established, it can be impossible to remove.
So naturally, understanding where and how invasive species are likely to strike is of huge benefit. This paper tries to map that out, using Australia as a case study. It’s a great example; Australia has a long history with invasive species, and this study alone looks at 33 different types of invasive fish.