Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

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Effects of the invasive fish species Ameiurus nebulosus on microbial communities in peat pools.

Abstract

Disturbances in the functioning of peatlands, due to growing human impact, climate change and the appearance of alien invasive species, are becoming increasingly common. Analysis of trophic relationships in the predator (invasive alien species)-prey system is extremely important for understanding the functioning of peat pools-small water bodies formed in peatlands by peat extraction. These issues are, as yet, very little understood. The aim of this study was to examine the impact of Ameiurus nebulosus, an alien and invasive fish species dominant in these pools, on the microbial communities and small metazoa (phycoflora, bacteria, heterotrophic flagellates, ciliates, and crustaceans) in peat pools. The laboratory experiment included two groups of treatments simulating natural conditions: treatments without fish and treatments with brown bullhead. The water temperature was manipulated as well. The presence of brown bullhead in combination with climate changes was shown to cause a change in the structure of microbial communities. This is reflected in a decrease in the abundance of planktonic crustaceans and an increase in ciliates. The overlapping effects of alien species and gradual climate warming may intensify the eutrophication of peatland ecosystems and the increase in the proportion of cyanobacteria, thereby affecting the carbon cycle in these ecosystems.