HOW LIMNOLOGICAL VARIABLES INFLUENCE THE OCCURRENCE AND ABUNDANCE OF A VISUAL PREDATOR IN AN INVADED RIVER-FLOODPLAIN SYSTEM

Amanda Cantarute Rodrigues, Bianca Morelatto Dal Vesco, Carolina Mendes Muniz, Carolina Pedrozo Nascimento, Gustavo Faccin Andreotti, Jonas Campaner Alves, Marcelo Henrique Fressatti Cardoso, Marcelo Henrique Schmitz, Maria Julia Mileo Ganassin, Mariele Pasuch de Camargo, Matheus Gimenez Buzo, Matheus Tenório Baumgartner, Natália Carneiro Lacerda dos Santos, Angelo Antonio Agostinho, Luiz Carlos Gomes

Abstract


Environmental characteristics of an invaded environment can predict the invasion success of a species, depending on its habits and life strategies. Cichla kelberi is a visual and voracious predator introduced in the Upper Paraná River floodplain, an area that suffers with several upstream dams that caused many environmental changes over the years (e.g. increased water transparency). As this species is a pre-adapted species to environments that presents high water transparency, our main goal was to test the hypothesis that variables related to the underwater visibility would be important drivers of the successful invasion of C. kelberi in the Upper Paraná River floodplain. We predict that turbidity (proxy of water transparency) is one of the major limnological determinants of occurrence and abundance of C. kelberi. Individuals of the invasive species and seven limnological variables were sampled quarterly between February 2000 and November 2018. This long-term data is part of the sixth site of the Brazilian Long Term Ecological Program (PELD). We fitted two regression models to all occurrence and abundance data (response variables) against the limnological variables (explanatory variables). For occurrence data, we fitted a Generalized Linear Mixed Model and for abundance data, we fitted a Linear Mixed Effects Model. The occurrence data of C. kelberi showed that turbidity and dissolved oxygen were the variables that most influenced the presence of this species, negatively and positively, respectively. The abundance data showed that dissolved oxygen and concentration of chlorophyll-a were the ones that most influenced the abundance of this species, negatively and positively, respectively. Our findings showed that besides turbidity, other limnological variables were also determinants for the occurrence and abundance of C. kelberi. Therefore, our results provided important information about the main environmental drivers of the establishment process of C. kelberi in the Upper Paraná River floodplain.


Keywords


Brazilian Long Term Ecological Program; Paraná River floodplain; Peacock-bass; successful invasion; underwater visibility

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.4257/oeco.2020.2402.16

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