Non-native species are considered one of the greatest threats to freshwater biodiversity worldwide (Drake et al. 1989; Allen and Flecker 1993; Dudgeon et al. 2005). Some of the first hypotheses proposed to explain global patterns of amphibian declines included the effects of non-native species (Barinaga 1990; Blaustein and Wake 1990; Wake and Morowitz 1991). Evidence for the impact of non-native species on amphibians stems (1) from correlative research that relates the distribution or abundance of a species to that of a putative non-native species, and (2) from experimental tests of the effects of a non-native species on survival, growth, development or behaviour of a target species (Kats and Ferrer 2003). Over the past two decades, research on the effects of non-native species on amphibians has mostly focused on introduced aquatic predators, particularly fish. Recent research has shifted to more complex ecological relationships such as influences of sub-lethal stressors (e.g. contaminants) on the effects of non-native species (Linder et al. 2003; Sih et al. 2004), non-native species as vectors of disease (Daszak et al. 2004; Garner et al. 2006), hybridization between non-natives and native congeners (Riley et al. 2003; Storfer et al. 2004), and the alteration of food-webs by non-native species (Nystrom et al. 2001). Other research has examined the interaction of non-native species in terms of facilitation (i.e. one non-native enabling another to become established or spread) or the synergistic effects of multiple non-native species on native amphibians, the so-called invasional meltdown hypothesis (Simerloff and Von Holle 1999). Although there is evidence that some non-native species may interact (Ricciardi 2001), there has yet to be convincing evidence that such interactions have led to an accelerated increase in the number of non-native species and cumulative impacts are still uncertain (Simberloff 2006). Applied research on the control, eradication, and management of non-native species has only just begun but some promising results have already emerged (see below), giving hope to a very difficult conservation issue. This chapter provides an overview of the role of non-native species in amphibian declines and summarizes the current state of knowledge of non-native species that are known, or considered to be, a threat to amphibian species and populations. The biological and socio-economic issues of non-native species control are examined and brief case studies of successful eradication programmes are provided.
|Title||Ecological impacts of non-native species|
|Authors||John W. Wilkinson|
|Publication Type||Book Chapter|
|Publication Subtype||Book Chapter|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center|