Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Using the critical salinity (Scrit) concept to predict invasion potential of the anemone Diadumene lineata in the Baltic Sea.

Abstract

It is widely assumed that the ability of an introduced species to acclimate to local environmental conditions determines its invasion success. The sea anemone Diadumene lineata is a cosmopolitan invader and shows extreme physiological tolerances. It was recently discovered in Kiel Fjord (Western Baltic Sea), although the brackish conditions in this area are physiologically challenging for most marine organisms. This study investigated salinity tolerance in D. lineata specimens from Kiel Fjord in order to assess potential geographical range expansion of the species in the Baltic Sea. In laboratory growth assays, we quantified biomass change and asexual reproduction rates under various salinity regimes (34: North Sea, 24: Kattegat, 14: Kiel Fjord, 7: Baltic Proper). Furthermore, we used 1H-NMR-based metabolomics to analyse intracellular osmolyte dynamics. Within four weeks D. lineata exhibited a fivefold population growth through asexual reproduction at high salinities (34 and 24). Biomass increase under these conditions was significantly higher (69%) than at a salinity of 14. At a salinity of 7, anemones ceased to reproduce asexually, their biomass decreased and metabolic depression was observed. Five main intracellular osmolytes were identified to be regulated in response to salinity change, with osmolyte depletion at a salinity of 7. We postulate that depletion of intracellular osmolytes defines a critical salinity (Scrit) that determines loss of fitness. Our results indicate that D. lineata has the potential to invade the Kattegat and Skagerrak regions with salinity >10. However, salinities of the Baltic Proper (salinity <8) currently seem to constitute a physiological limit for the species.