Canal type affects invasiveness of the apple snail Pomacea canaliculata through its effects on animal species richness and waterweed invasion
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Loss of complex natural microhabitats due to human activity is a major cause of decreased biodiversity but its effects on biological invasion are not well understood. The effects of physical environmental factors, especially the type of agricultural canals, on the invasive freshwater snail Pomacea canaliculata were studied at 33 sites in the Chikugogawa River basin, Kyushu, Japan. Differences among sites in the local fauna and vegetation were also monitored. Structural equation modeling with a model selection procedure revealed that canals with a concrete lining had more snails. The effect was indirect in that the concrete lining reduced animal species richness and increased the invasive waterweed Egeria densa, which may serve as a refuge, protecting the snails from predation. A tethering experiment conducted simultaneously indicated high predation pressure on the snails: over 20 % of the tethered snails were lost within a day. Thus, human impacts may increase biological invasion by reducing biotic resistance and increasing the risk of invasional meltdown.
KeywordsBiotic resistance Exotic species Freshwater Gastropoda Human impact Invasional meltdown
We thank Drs. Takashi Wada, Keiichiro Matsukura, Kohei Tasaka, and Ms. Yoko Yamanishi for their help. We also thank Prof. Keiji Wada and other members of our laboratories, Prof. Robert H. Cowie, and anonymous reviewers for assistance, discussion, and comments.
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