Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Invasive crayfish increase habitat connectivity: a case study in a large boreal lake.

Abstract

Several studies have shown that distinct compartments of lake ecosystems are coupled via transportation of organic matter, nutrients and energy across habitat boundaries. Here we evaluate the potential of the invasive signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus (Dana)) to modify energy pathways in large boreal lakes. Using a stable isotope mixing model and calculation of the isotopic niches we estimated the contribution of different food sources to the diets of crayfish captured from different habitats, and from that inferred their potential to transport energy across the littoral-profundal gradient. The crayfish caught from the littoral area utilized mainly littoral food sources, whereas the importance of profundal sources increased consistently with depth. We also found crayfish in deeper habitats with littoral δ13C label, which indicates significant use of littoral sources. These results presents evidence that invasive signal crayfish create a new link in energy transfer from littoral areas to profundal areas and thereby increase connectivity between these spatially distinct habitats. Our results highlight a need for better understanding of the role of crayfish in lake energy dynamics and habitat connectivity.