Human activity and climate change are causing invasive non-native species to spread rapidly across the globe.
Human activity and climate change are causing invasive non-native species to spread rapidly across the globe. Researchers have found that certain invasive species can push lake ecosystems beyond a critical ‘tipping point’, causing a sudden shift from healthy to degraded conditions that is difficult to reverse.
Invasive fish such as Asian silver carp Hypophthalmichthys molitrix, and crustaceans such as American signal crayfish Pacifastacus leniusculus, were found to significantly reduce the abundance of other important organisms in lakes and degrade water quality. The findings, published today in the journal Global Change Biology, also provide guidance on the best ways to manage waterbodies.
Shallow lakes naturally exist in one of two alternative stable states: either healthy - with clear water with an abundance of vegetation, or degraded - with cloudy water dominated by algae. When a lake is in the latter state, algae use up all the nutrients in the water and block sunlight, preventing the growth of aquatic vegetation that would aid ecosystem recovery.
Read more at: University of Cambridge