Biological Invasions

, 13:2561 | Cite as

The ecological niches of Bythotrephes and Leptodora: lessons for predicting long-term effects of invasion

  • Dag O. Hessen
  • Vegar Bakkestuen
  • Bjørn Walseng
Original Paper


We here exploit two large datasets on zooplankton in Norwegian lakes, spanning a wide range of geographical, physical, chemical and biological properties, to assess the ecological niches and habitats of Bythotrephes longimanus and Leptodora kindtii. The species overlapped geographically, yet co-occurred only in a limited number of lakes. Bythotrephes inhabited virtually all types of lakes, except alpine localities and productive lakes dominated by cyprinid communities where the hyaline Leptodora was most abundant. The zooplankton communities also differed in Bythotrephes and Leptodora lakes, probably both reflecting different predatory regimes, but also water quality and other lake-specific properties. We found no evidence for species being excluded by the presence of Bythotrephes, rather the diversity in general was higher in lakes with these predators present compared with those without. We found, however, a very close association between Bythotrephes and Daphnia galeata and to some extent also between Bythotrephes and D. longispina, suggesting that these species also may benefit from Bythotrephes invasion. Both Bythotrephes and Leptodora species occur naturally in this region, and knowledge about the ecological preferences and the zooplankton community composition in Bythotrephes—and Leptodora lakes will provide valuable information about the long-term effects of Bythotrephes invasion and potential interaction with of Leptodora as top invertebrate predator.


Bythotrephes Invasion Leptodora Predation Zooplankton community 



We are indebted to our colleagues at Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA) and Norwegian Institute for water Research (NIVA) for help and cooperation with sampling and analysis. We would also like to acknowledge the most helpful comments and suggestions from Norman Yan and three anonymous reviewers on an earlier version of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dag O. Hessen
    • 1
  • Vegar Bakkestuen
    • 2
    • 3
  • Bjørn Walseng
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Biology, Center of Ecological and Evolutionary SynthesisUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  2. 2.Department of Botany, Natural History MuseumUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  3. 3.Norwegian Institute for Nature ResearchOsloNorway

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