Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Trophic niches, trophic positions, and niche overlaps between non-native and native fish species in a Subalpine lake.

Abstract

In the last century, Italian freshwater ecosystems have been invaded by several non-native fish species. In the subalpine Lake Mergozzo (northern Italy), several recently introduced non-native species dramatically expanded their populations. We used carbon and nitrogen stable isotopes to describe the isotopic niches and trophic positions of native and non-native fish species in Lake Mergozzo. We evaluated their trophic niches, trophic diversity, trophic redundancy and trophic evenness utilizing isotopic niche metrics, and estimated asymmetrical niche overlaps. The trophic traits of non-native fish species and Perca fluviatilis clearly define them as trophic generalists, in terms of among-individual variability of their isotopic niches. The historical increase in abundance of fish non-native species in this lake, their dominance by numbers and biomass within the assemblage, and their broad asymmetrical niche overlaps suggest that their higher degree of trophic generalism might have been one of the key factors that have promoted the invasion of the recipient community.