Human-mediated dispersal of aquatic invertebrates with waterproof footwear
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Human-mediated dispersal has rarely been considered in wetland conservation strategies at regional scales, yet high concern exists about this aspect for (inter-)national management considering invasive species in other aquatic systems. In this context, we aim at understanding the role of human-mediated dispersal by footwear in protected wetlands with high conservation value. Zooplankton and zoobenthos were sampled in 13 shallow lakes in central Spain and, at the same time, mud attached to waders was collected and later cultured in deionized water under laboratory conditions for 4 weeks. Two-hundred and four individuals belonging to 19 invertebrate taxa were recovered after hatching; Ostracoda (84 %), Cladocera (53 %), Copepoda (30 %), Anostraca (30 %), and Notostraca (7 %) were the most frequent groups among the hatched crustaceans. NMDS and PERMANOVA analyses showed significant differences between the dispersed (via footwear) and the source active metacommunity, suggesting different dispersal abilities among the species found. Human vectors facilitate dispersal among protected lakes, which could eventuality lead to biotic homogenization and faster spread of non-indigenous species. Preservation strategies and education campaigns associated to target humans in close contact with water bodies should be imperative in conservation management of protected lakes.
KeywordsConservation management Human-mediated dispersal Invasive species Protected lakes
This research was funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness of the Government of Spain through Project ECOLAKE (CGL2012-38909), and by the European Union through the European Fund for Regional Development (FEDER) “One way to make Europe.” We want to thank all members of the project for their helpful insights, and particularly José Antonio Gil-Delgado, Carlos Rochera, Toni Camacho, and Rafael U. Gosálvez for their suggestions and help in the field. We thank Francisco Amat for assistance in Artemia identification. Two anonymous referees are thanked for their suggestions to an earlier version of the manuscript.
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