Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Invasive carp alter trophic niches of consumers and basal resources in African reservoirs.

Abstract

Environmental pollution and biological invasions are key drivers of biodiversity change. However, the effects of invasion and pollution on food webs remain largely unexplored. Here, we used stable isotopes to examine the effects of common carp Cyprinus carpio and pollution on trophic dynamics in six small reservoirs. Our results revealed that the trophic niche widths of invertebrates, vertebrates, and invasive carp did not significantly differ among reservoirs with different pollution statuses. However, we found low niche conservatism among reservoirs, suggesting that while niche width may remain consistent, there is a shift in the position of the niches in isotopic space under both pollution and invasion scenarios. Niche conservatism among reservoirs was generally higher in invertebrates, but this was also regardless of reservoir condition (i.e. presence or absence of pollution and invasion). These results suggest that invasion by species coupled with organic pollution may cause subtle yet differing effects on components of a food web (basal end-members, invertebrates and vertebrates). Our findings provide a baseline measure of the potential in the development of detection and response strategies for carp invasions and organic pollution.