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Browsing by Author "Kallio, Jarkko"

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  • Kallio, Jarkko (2017)
    The spreading of non-indigenous species by human activities is a growing problem globally. Invasive species are generally assumed to have negative impacts on ecosystems, because they threaten biodiversity and the balance of ecological systems. Other simultaneous changes in the ecosystem can impact, or intensify the effects of, the invasion. The invasive rock shrimp Palaemon elegans, is an invasive species that has spread to the Baltic sea via human introduction in the early 2000's. There have also been drastic changes in the ecology of Baltic sea, particularly the increase of primary production. A common mesopredator, the three-spined stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus, has greatly increased in number in the Baltic sea in recent years. It is presumed to influence the primary production by predation of zooplankton grazers. P. elegans is an omnivore that both grazes filamentous green algae, as well as preys upon the invertebrate grazers that live amongst the algae. If the invasion of P. elegans influences the populations of stickleback, it might also influence the accumulation of primary production. Recent studies have shown, that P. elegans can potentially influence the reproductive behavior of stickleback, but the effect on the success of reproduction has not been proven. This study was composed of two parts: field monitoring and a mesocosm experiment. In the monitoring, individuals of stickleback and P. elegans were caught, counted and measured in three shallow bays and two depths from May to August of 2015. The differences in number of caught individuals were analyzed using Kruskal-Wallis analysis of variance and differences in lengths were analyzed with Mann-Whitney U-test. The effect of P. elegans on sticklebacks was analyzed using covariance analysis. The hypothesis was, that the amount of P. elegans and stickleback or their lengths would show negative correlation, which could be a sign of interaction through predation or resource competition. In the mesocosm experiment stickleback fry were exposed to P. elegans or a non-parent stickleback in tanks with filamentous algae Cladophora glomerata and associated fauna. The resulting differences in in fry number, fry size and the amount of algae between treatments in the tanks were analyzed with Kruskal-Wallis analysis of variance. Correlations between variables were analyzed using Spearman's rank-order correlation. The hypothesis was that P. elegans would have a negative effect on the amount of fry through predation, or the size of the fry through perceived predation risk. In the field study, no significant correlations were found between P. elegans and sticklebacks, and therefore the results do not suggest a causal link between the two species. Differences between the areas were found, which were attributed to physical differences between the areas. In the mesocosm experiment not enough repetitions were accumulated to provide reliable results. The increase of P. elegans in the Baltic sea is most likely not going to affect the three-spined stickleback via direct predation. P. elegans appears in the shallow bays where sticklebacks reproduce later in the year and it consumes mainly algae and invertebrates. Even though P. elegans will feed on fish eggs if there is an opportunity, stickleback males defend their nests fiercely. The invasion of P. elegans in the Baltic sea is very recent, but it can affect the accumulation of filamentous algae due to their great number. It feeds on invertebrates, but can itself be a potential food item in the diet of ie. cod.