Monday, October 23, 2017

Biodiversity News

27

Exploitation can modify the characteristics of fish populations through the selective harvesting of individuals, with this potentially leading to rapid ecological and evolutionary changes. Despite the well-known effects of invasive fishes on aquatic ecosystems generally, the potential effects of their selective removal through angling, a strategy commonly used to manage invasive fish, are poorly understood. The aim of this field-based study was to use the North American



pumpkinseed Lepomis gibbosus as the model species to investigate the consequences of selective removal on their population characteristics and juvenile growth rates across 10 populations in artificial lakes in southern France. We found that the maximal individual mass in populations decreased as removal pressure through angling increased, whereas we did not observed any changes in the maximal individual length in populations as removal pressure increased. Total population abundance did not decrease as removal pressure increased; instead, here was a U-shaped relationship between removal pressure and the abundance of medium-bodied individuals. In addition, population biomass had a U-shaped curve response to removal pressure, implying that invasive fish populations can modulate their characteristics to compensate for the negative effects of selective removals. In addition, individual lengths at age 2 and juvenile growth rates decreased as removal pressure through angling increased, suggesting a shift toward an earlier size at maturity and an overall slower growing phenotype. Therefore, these outputs challenge the efficiency of selective management methods, suggesting the use of more proactive strategies to control invasive populations, and the need to investigate the potential ecological and evolutionary repercussions of nonrandom removal.


 

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