Temporal Currency: Life-history strategies of a native marine invertebrate increasingly exposed to urbanisation and invasionSuwandy, Jason January 2012 (has links)
Biological invasions pose a serious threat to biodiversity world-wide. Through various means, such as competition or predation, invaders can radically change species composition and the functioning of native ecosystems. Even though our understanding of the mechanisms underlying invasion success is improving, there is still a lack of knowledge on the response of native species under pressure from invasion. This study adds to existing knowledge on the responses of a native species to invasion by non-indigenous species. Pyura pachydermatina is a native ascidian in the southeast coast of New Zealand currently under pressure from increased urbanisation and invasion by other ascidian species. The reproductive strategies employed by P. pachydermatina are investigated and the role of these strategies to increase its resistance to invasion are assessed. A population study on the status of P. pachydermatina around the Banks Peninsula was carried out in Camp Bay, Pigeon Bay, and Wainui. Spawning experiments using P. pachydermatina and gonad histology were done regularly during the one year study period to assess its ability to self-fertilise and determine its reproductive period. In addition, predation experiments were carried out to assess the susceptibility of P. pachydermatina early life stages to two amphipod predators. The surveys indicated that the populations of P. pachydermatina in the three sites are different from one another. Wainui has on average the largest individuals of P. pachydermatina and Camp Bay, the smallest. Abundance of P. pachydermatina was highest in Pigeon Bay and lowest in Wainui. The three life stages of Pyura pachydermatina; recruits, juveniles, and adults, were present in all sites at all seasons. The spawning experiments confirmed the species’ ability to self-fertilise and that it has a year-round spawning period. The two amphipod predators, Jassa marmorata and Caprella mutica, were efficient in consuming the egg and larval stages of P. pachydermatina, but did not feed on the settlers. Year-round reproduction and the ability to self-fertilise potentially give P. pachydermatina increased resistance to the effects of urbanisation and invasion. This population study suggested that the species is thriving around the Banks Peninsula. This, combined with previous studies on the non-indigenous ascidian Styela clava that stated the static or declining populations of the potential invaders, gives a positive outlook for the native species for the future. I suggest the use of genetic techniques to assess, in more detail, the population structure and dispersal potential of this native species. I also suggest constant monitoring of native species is required to keep up to date with the current status of the species, which will in turn help management decisions should regional spread of the Lyttelton S. clava invasion occur in the future.
Invasion dynamics of a non-indigenous bivalve, Nuttallia obscurata, (Reeve 1857), in the Northeast PacificDudas, Sarah 31 December 2005 (has links)
This thesis describes how life history characteristics of the varnish clam (Nuttallia obscurata), and interactions with the physical environment and other species, have contributed to its successful invasion in coastal British Columbia. Lab and field experiments were conducted to investigate varnish clam larval ecology (i.e. larval rearing experiments), adult population dynamics (i.e. annual population surveys, mark-recapture and length-frequency analysis, growth modeling) and ecological interactions with native species (i.e. predator/prey preference feeding trials). Using these results, a matrix demographic model was developed to determine which life history stage contributes the most to varnish clam population growth. Larval rearing experiments indicated that temperature and salinity tolerances of varnish clam larvae are comparable to native species, however the planktonic phase is slightly longer (3-8 weeks). Based on local oceanographic circulation, varnish clam larvae have the potential to disperse throughout their entire geographic range in just one reproductive season. Varnish clam population surveys revealed spatiotemporal variation in density and size. No relationships were evident between varnish clam density and the number or density of co-occurring bivalve species. Length-frequency analysis suggested that recruitment varies among sites, with high post-settlement mortality coinciding with high recruitment. The presence of similar recruitment pulses at geographically separate sites indicates regional scale processes may influence recruitment. Individual growth rates iii varied among sites, with higher growth corresponding to lower population densities and water temperature. Monthly survival rates ranged from 0.81 – 0.99 and were lower for clams 10-30 mm. Predator/prey preference feeding trials showed that crabs prefer varnish clams to local species when clam burial depth is limited. Crabs therefore have the potential to influence varnish clam distributions, particularly on beaches where the varnish clam is unable to bury deeply. Based on matrix demographic analysis, adult survival (e.g. clams ≥ 40 mm) is the most crucial factor for varnish clam population growth, and drives the observed population growth differences between sites. This study of the varnish clam invasion demonstrates that its success lies in both species (e.g. lengthy planktonic phase, high survival) and regional (e.g. favourable ocean circulation patterns for rapid dispersal) characteristics. Measures to reduce introductions should be targeted in areas where introductions are likely to have the furthest reaching impacts.
Schimanski, Kate Bridget
The spread of exotic species is considered to be one of the most significant threats to ecosystems and emphasises the need for appropriate management interventions. The majority of marine non-indigenous species (NIS) are believed to have been introduced via ship biofouling and their domestic spread continues to take place via this mechanism. In some countries, biosecurity systems have been developed to prevent the introduction of NIS through biofouling. However, implementing biosecurity strategies is difficult due to the challenges around identifying high-risk vectors. Reliable predictors of risk have remained elusive, in part due to a lack of scientific knowledge. Nonetheless, invasion ecology is an active scientific field that aims to build this knowledge. Propagule pressure is of particular interest in invasion ecology as it describes the quantity and quality of the propagules introduced into a recipient region and is considered to be an important determinant in the successful establishment of NIS. Environmental history affects health and reproductive output of an organism and, therefore, it is beneficial to examine this experimentally in the context of biofouling and propagule pressure. The aim of this thesis was to examine how voyage characteristics influence biofouling recruitment, survivorship, growth, reproduction and offspring performance through the ship invasion pathway. This was to provide fundamental knowledge to assist managers with identifying high-risk vessels that are likely to facilitate the introduction or domestic spread of NIS, and to understand the processes affecting biofouling organisms during long-distance dispersal events. Chapter One provides an introduction to the issues addressed in this thesis. Each data chapter (Chapters Two – Five) then focused on a stage of the invasion process and included field experiments using a model organism, Bugula neritina. Finally, Chapter Six provides a summary of key findings, discussion and the implications to biosecurity management. Throughout this thesis, the effect of donor port residency period on the success of recruits was highlighted. Chapter Two focused on recruitment in the donor region. As expected, recruitment increased with residency period. Importantly, recruitment occurred every day on vulnerable surfaces, therefore, periods as short as only a few days are able to entrain recruits to a vessel hull. The study presented in Chapter Three showed that there was high survivorship of B. neritina recruits during 12 translocation scenarios tested. In particular, the juvenile short-residency recruits (1-8 days) survived voyages of 8 days at a speed of 18 knots; the longest and fastest voyage simulated. Interestingly, variation in voyage speed and voyage duration had no effect on the survivorship of recruits, but did have legacy effects on post-voyage growth. Again, B. neritina which recruited over very short residency periods of 1 day continued to perform well after translocation and had the highest level of reproductive output after the voyage scenarios (Chapter Four). Recruits that were older (32-days) and reproductively mature at the commencement of the scenarios failed to release any propagules. Even though the number of ‘at sea’ and ‘port residency’ days were equal, reproductive output was higher after short and frequent voyages than after long and infrequent voyages. Finally, the study presented in Chapter Five examined transgenerational effects of B. nertina. Results showed that although the environmental history of the parent colony had a carry-over effect on offspring performance, it was the offspring environment that was a stronger determinant of success (measured by reproductive output and growth). Although cross-vector spread is possible (i.e. parent and offspring both fouling an active vessel), offspring released from a hull fouling parent into a recipient environment will perform better. In combination, these studies have provided new insights into NIS transport via vessel biofouling. Although shipping pathways are dynamic and complex, these results suggest that juvenile stages that recruit over short residency periods and are then translocated on short voyages, may pose a higher risk for NIS introduction than originally assumed. This has implications for marine biosecurity management as short residency periods are common and short, frequent voyages are typical of domestic vessel movements which are largely unmanaged.
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