Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Linking multiple aspects of thermal performance to explore the potential for thermal resource partitioning between a native and an invasive crayfish.

Abstract

Ecologists require standardized, ecologically relevant information on the thermal ecology of aquatic ectotherms to address growing concerns related to changing climates, altered habitats, and introduced species. We measured multiple thermal endpoints to investigate potential for establishment of the invasive Ringed Crayfish (Faxonius neglectus) in thermally heterogeneous habitat of the narrowly distributed endemic Coldwater Crayfish (Faxonius eupunctus). For each species, we examined the relationships between thermal endpoints at the cellular and organismal levels. We then compared results between the two species to gain insight as to the generality of linkages between cellular and organismal-level endpoints, as well as the potential for thermal niche separation between the native and potential invader. At the cellular level, we found no differences in the temperature for maximum activity of electron transport system enzymes (ETSmax) between species. At the organismal level, F. neglectus preferred significantly warmer temperatures than F. eupunctus, but this difference was small (1.3°C) and likely to have only limited biological significance. The critical thermal maximum (CTM) did not differ between species. For both species, the thermal performance curve for ETS enzyme activity served as a useful framework to link thermal endpoints and estimate the transition from optimal to stressful temperatures - organismal thermal preference and optimal temperature estimates consistently fell below ETSmax whereas CTM estimates fell above ETSmax. Taken together, the strong similarities in thermal endpoint patterns between the two species suggest habitats thermally suitable for the native F. eupunctus will also be thermally available to expanding populations of F. neglectus, thereby increasing the opportunity for negative interactions and population effects if F. neglectus invades one of the few remaining, uninvaded, critical habitats of F. eupunctus.