Introduced freshwater fishes in a global endemic hotspot and implications of habitat and climatic change
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Introductions of alien freshwater fish species into the Mediterranean-climatic South-west Coast Drainage Division of Australia have impacted a highly endemic (≈82%) yet depauperate (11 species) native freshwater fish fauna. This study updates the current known introduced freshwater fishes in Western Australia, assesses the historic rate of introductions and how habitat, water quality and climatic changes have facilitated those introductions. South-western Australia has undergone a ≈63% increase in alien freshwater fish introductions since 1970 (44% increase over the past decade) to 13 species; overtaking the number of native fishes. Aquarium species represent 80% of the latest introductions (46% of total number) and the majority (54%) of introduced fishes in the region are of sub-tropical or tropical origin. As found elsewhere, species with broad environmental tolerances and generalist diets are likely to continue to be the main colonizers in this region. We propose that past and future climatic and habitat changes in the Mediterranean-climatic south-west region will facilitate continued invasion of tropical and sub-tropical aquarium fishes and that strategic monitoring, control and public education programs are required to halt future introductions.
|Publication Type:||Journal Article|
|Murdoch Affiliation:||Fish Health Unit|
|Copyright:||© 2013 The Author(s).|
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