Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Do alpine macroinvertebrates recover differently in lakes and rivers after alien fish eradication?

Abstract

Introduced fish can have detrimental effects on native biota inhabiting alpine freshwaters with the extent of their impact depending on variables such as habitat features. The present study aims to compare the recovery of macroinvertebrate communities following a fish eradication campaign in a mountain lake (Lake Dres, 2087 m a.s.l., Western Italian Alps) and its inflowing and outflowing streams. All fish were removed using mechanical methods, not producing side-effects for macroinvertebrates. During eradication, the lake community, which had previously been greatly affected, rapidly recovered to levels typical of neverstocked lakes. Stream communities, however, were apparently not impacted by fish populations and remained relatively stable, proving their greater capacity to withstand fish presence. The abundance of spatial refugia and invertebrate recruitment (via birth or immigration) can explain the observed stability in stream communities. Drifting macroinvertebrates are often called into question to explain the resistance of stream communities as they can partially offset predation via benthic recruitment, but our results show that stream resistance can be high even where drift is low, i.e., in the outflowing stream.