CSI Principal Consultant Presentation on Effects of Invasive Species on Native Populations of Aquatic Organisms in the San Francisco Bay-Delta and Freshwater Tributaries at the 2017 International Conference on Aquatic Invasive Species (ICAIS) October 22-26, Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Presentation: Effects of Invasive Species on Native Populations of Aquatic Organisms in the San Francisco Bay-Delta and Freshwater Tributaries: A Review

Abstract: Aquatic invasive species are considered an important causative factor in the declines of native species diversity and populations in the San Francisco (SF) Bay-Delta. The SF Bay-Delta is one of the largest estuarine and freshwater ecosystems in North America and harbors an abundant and diverse range of aquatic species including endangered species and several commercially and recreationally important species. The SF Bay-Delta is also a major port for trade and is heavily urbanized. Native species in the SF Bay-Delta and freshwater tributaries have declined precipitously, likely due to a myriad of factors including invasive species, changes in water flow, water diversions, habitat modifications, fishing practices, cyanobacteria blooms, and toxicants. The number of aquatic species invasions in the SF Bay-Delta has continued to increase over the last century and may be a key component to native species declines. The objective of this review is to identify aquatic invasive species present in the SF Bay-Delta and tributaries and determine the consequences of their introduction on indigenous species. Analysis of aquatic species in the SF Bay-Delta and associated tributaries revealed that invasive species have competitive advantages that result in impacts throughout the food web, resulting in trophic cascades and changes in species composition in both invertebrate and vertebrate populations. The phenotypic plasticity of organisms may play a key role in their susceptibility to displacement by invasive aquatic species. Native species with a diverse range of habitat preferences and food items (i.e. trophic adaptability) are more likely to adapt to changing conditions and are better equipped to withstand ecosystem changes originating from aquatic species invasions. Several case reviews demonstrate the dynamics between native and introduced aquatic species and reveal the interrelationships that lead to the continued persistence or the decline of native species.

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