Recent invasion by a non-native cyprinid (common bream Abramis brama) is followed by major changes in the ecological quality of a shallow lake in southern Europe

Volta, Pietro; Jeppesen, Erik; Leoni, Barbara; Campi, Barbara; Sala, Paolo; Garibaldi, Letizia; Lauridsen, Torben L.; Winfield, Ian J.. 2013 Recent invasion by a non-native cyprinid (common bream Abramis brama) is followed by major changes in the ecological quality of a shallow lake in southern Europe. Biological Invasions, 15 (9). 2065-2079.

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We present an example of how an invasion by a non-native cyprinid (common bream, Abramis brama (Pisces: Cyprinidae), hereafter bream) in a natural shallow lake in southern Europe (Lake Montorfano, northern Italy) may have adversely affected the state of the lake’s ecosystem. In less than two decades, bream became the most abundant species and characterized by a stunted population with asymptotic length 33.5 cm, an estimated mean length at first maturity of 19.6 cm, a total mortality rate of 0.64 year−1 and a diet overwhelmingly dominated by microcrustaceans. Following bream establishment, nutrients and phytoplankton biomass rose, the proportion of Cyanobacteria by numbers increased markedly and water transparency decreased. Total zooplankton abundance increased with a marked increase in small cladocerans and copepods, whereas the abundance of large herbivorous cladocerans did not change. The coverage of submerged macrophytes declined, as did the abundance of native pelagic zooplanktivorous fish. The composition of the fish community shifted towards a higher proportion of zoobenthivorous species, such as bream and pumpkinseed (Lepomis gibbosus). Our results indicate that bream affected water quality through bottom-up mechanisms, while top-down effects were comparatively weak. Selective removal of bream and perhaps stocking of native piscivores might improve the ecological status of the lake.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Water > WA Topic 2 - Ecohydrological Processes > WA - 2.3 - Assess the responses of river, lake and wetland ecosystems to ecohydrological drivers
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Parr
ISSN: 1387-3547
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: This document is the author’s final manuscript version of the journal article, incorporating any revisions agreed during the peer review process. Some differences between this and the publisher’s version remain. You are advised to consult the publisher’s version if you wish to cite from this article. The final publication is available at
Additional Keywords: invasive alien species IAS, electrofishing, multi-mesh survey gill nets, CPUE, cyprinids, ecosystem functioning
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 19 Mar 2013 12:47 +0 (UTC)

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