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Asian Carp: The Invasion
Transcript of Asian Carp: The Invasion
A native species is a species that was originally found in an area that occurs naturally in the habitat without the help of humans or human activity
How are Asian Carp Invasive?
Asian Carp were originally native to Eastern Asia, found in lakes and slow-moving rivers. They were imported to North American lakes and rivers to help control pond vegetation, but they quickly spread to all Great Lakes and most major rivers including the Mississippi and the Missouri. They pose an incredible threat to all other organisms in the ecosystem.
What is an invasive species?
An invasive species is a non-native species that had spread far beyond the original point of introduction either accidentally or deliberately. Invasive species can cause environmental or economic damage by colonizing and dominating suitable habitats.
Asian Carp: The Invasion
What is the difference between native and invasive species?
The main contrast between native species and invasive species are that the invasive species does not have any natural competitors in the new environment and are therefore extremely successful.
Characteristics of an invasive species
lack of competition
lack of predators
easily adapt to new environments
adaptations to original environment
abundance of resources in the new environment, as well as original
lakes and ponds
rivers and streams
to add a little focus..
How are the biomes similar and different?
The native biome of the invasive species is primarily in rivers and lakes in an area of warm temperatures and receives lots of precipitation.
The invasive biome of the invasive species is also rivers and streams in an area of much colder water and receives little precipitation.
What is a biotic factor?
A biotic factor is the living components of an environment.
Biotic components relating to the Asian Carp are:
What is an abiotic factor?
An abiotic factor is the non-living components of an environment.
Abiotic components relating to the Asian Carp are:
temperature (changes from warm to cold)
precipitation (changes from lots to little)
oxygen content in the water
overall space in the river or stream
What is the impact of these biotic factors on Asian Carp?
Asian Carp feed on lots of small fish and have significantly affected the number of fish available for other species. Asian Carp are also preyed upon by other larger fish, mammals and birds, but not enough to control their exponential growth. Due to the excessive feeding of Asian Carp, it also results in fewer and smaller game fish in the area.
What is the impact of these abiotic factors on Asian Carp?
Due to the notable difference of water temperature and amount of precipitation the area receives definitely affects the carp and their habitat. Dependent upon the depth of the lake or stream they invade, they could risk the freezing over of that lake over the winter. Another important factor is the oxygen content in the water. Asian Carp can manage to thrive in water with 0.5 mg/L oxygen content and can therefore out survive many other fish species that are more sensitive to low oxygen content levels.
What is an anatomical adaptation?
An anatomical adaptation is a change in the body shape or structure.
Anatomical features of Asian Carp are their ability to grow extremely fast and have hard scales as a extra effort for protection.
What is a physiological adaptation?
A physiological adaptation is a gradual, reversible adjustment to an environmental change.
Asian carp express such an adaptation by being able to survive with only 0.5 mg/L of oxygen and their ability to eat up to 40% of their body weight.
What is a behavioral adaptation?
Behavioral adaptations are the unfavorable changes to an environment.
Asian Carp exhibit behavioral adaptations by reproducing extremely quickly, laying 2.2 million eggs, and jumping out of the water risking the safety of boaters.
How do these adaptations help the Asian Carp?
These adaptations make the Asian Carp successful by aiding in their keen competitive nature. Asian Carp out compete most, if not all, other fish species within the ecosystem. It has an extremely harsh effect on the food chain that supports the native fish and quickly became a dominant fish species.
What are the impacts of the Asian Carp on an organismal level?
Asian Carp out compete the native species within their ecosystem by eating all the available food. This is detrimental to other fish species within the same biome by eliminating their natural food source.
What is the impact of the Asian Carp on a population level?
The Asian Carp population is increasing rapidly because of a lack of factors that can control their population. Their species numbers are booming because they can do whatever they want in a sense and cannot be controlled.
What is the impact of the Asian Carp on a community level?
The impact of Asian Carp on a community level is devastating and extremely concerning. The other native species don't get any food because the carp can eat up to 40% of their body weight. Not only are they now depleting the food source but also native predators of the area because they are starving to death.
What is the impact of the Asian Carp on an ecosystem level?
Asian Carp affect the ecosystem by exhausting all the available resources for themselves and the other native fish and therefore damage the ecosystem within the lakes or stream. It disrupts the natural balance or near balance within the food chains. This also begins to ruin the fishing industry by the Asian Carp killing out the desirable fish.
What is a density-dependent factor?
Density-dependent factors are population limiting factors whose effects intensify as the population increases in density.
Examples of such a factor according to Asian Carp would be a limited food supply, intraspecific competition, and competition dominance for mates.
What are density-independent factors?
A density-independent factor is a population limiting factor whose intensity is unrelated to population density. They include many abiotic factors.
Examples of such factors that influences the Asian Carp is the risk of Carp invading a shallow lake or river and having it freeze over in the winter and therefore killing all life in the aquatic biome. Other factors are vulnerability of the species and habitat availability.
What is carrying capacity?
Carrying capacity is the maximum population size that a particular environment can sustain.
If the Asian Carp will continue to grow at such an exponential rate, they will run out of food, and eventually outgrow the space made available to them.
What is a life table?
A life table tracks survivorship and helps determine the most vulnerable stages of the life cycle. Reproductive system timing are heavy influences on this factor.
The most vulnerable stage of the Asian Carp would be when it's still in egg form and or newly hatched because it cannot fend for itself as much and is not as quick as the adults would be.
What are age structures?
Age structures of a population of a species are the distribution of individuals among age groups.
Asian Carp are mostly younger species because they lay such an incredible amount of eggs and the younger generations quickly out populate the older ones. Asian Carp lay 2.2 million eggs and this model exhibits Type One age structure.
What is survivorship?
Survivorship curves graphically represent some of the data in a life table and are classified based on the rate of mortality over the lifespan of an organism.
Our invasive species is classified as an R or Type One species, much like mosquitoes and dandelions, because they produce a large number of offspring but provide little or no care for their young.
Carrying Capacity of the River Biome
X Axis=Stock Size
Y Axis=Harvest Size
Y Int.= Carrying Capacity
Purple function = Native species before
Green function = Native species after
Safe amount of Asian carp is 63%
Some areas report 95% of total biomass
Exponential Growth Models
Exponential growth models describe the expansion of a population of an ideal and unlimited environment. Resembles the letter J and explains how species can go from a few thousand to millions.
Reproduces fairly early (3-4 years)
Logistic Growth Model
Not much time for vulnerability
Logistic growth models are models that express the reality of a limiting environment. Environmental factors hold population growth in check and restrict the number of individuals that can occupy a habitat.
Takes over by laying approximately 2.2 million eggs
Conservation Ecology Or Sustainability Impact
Even if large amount killed off, many still survive
What are K and R species?
K species are species that have a low number of offspring but take great care of them. Examples of such species would be elephants and humans.
R species are species that have a high number of offspring but take very little care of their offspring. Examples of such species would be dandelions and Asian Carp.
Therefore, not only are Asian Carp invasive, but they also have an extremely large amount of offspring that takes little care to survive and become successfully competitive.
These fish were brought over by aquatic farmers in the 1970's. Since their introduction, Asian Carp have had a very negative impact on sustainability because they have consumed much of the food available to the other native fish. Because of this decrease in food, the native fish are continuing to die off. This creates a significant decrease in the game fish for predator animals that feed on the native fish.
If this cycle continues, the populations of animals in the same community as the Asian Carp will decline and for some, maybe even extinction.
R species: Large amount of offspring with little care
The U.S. Congress passed the Asian Carp Prevention and Control Act, which states that no Asian Carp are allowed to be shipped or imported to the U.S. without consent from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services.
This act has had little effect on the carp population since these invasive fish are already in our waters reproducing at an exponential rate. Another prevention method that was put into use to attempt to control the population of the Asian Carp is the use of electric fences. This method appears to be very effective in stopping the spread of the Asian Carp however, it has not shown enough evidence to control their surging population and definitely has not removed their presence in American waters.
Are human's to blame?
Due to the fact that human's introduced the Asian Carp to the lakes and rivers of North America, they are most definitely to blame for the explosion of this invasive species. It was a classic scientific mistake that occurred from them trying to fix one problem and is resulting in them causing another. An ecological footprint is an estimate of the raw materials an individual or a population consumes. As for the Asian Carp, their ecological footprint is huge in the sense that they are continuously over consuming and will only continue to damage their ecosystem in the future.
The Big Picture
Since introduction, Asian Carp have demonstrated that they have the incredible potential to be one of the most harmful invasive species that occupies a small aquatic biome. They are extremely competitive which is their most dangerous feature, and reproduce at an alarming rate. The efforts that are put into place to try and tame these wild fish are effective, but with limitations.
The establishment of Asian Carp has now introduced the new sport of aerial bow fishing.
The St. Louis Zoo is investigating ways to feed Asian Carp to penguins, sea lions, and pelicans.
Chefs in Chicago are also investigating ways to create delicious dishes featuring the Asian Carp. An example of these flavorful masterpieces is a Crisp Paupiette in Barolo Sauce.
Because Asian Carp are not bottom feeders, they actually taste much better than other Carp species.
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How do they compete?
Intraspecific competition is defined as competition between individuals of the same species for the same limited resources.
Interspecific competition is defined a competition between individuals of different species for the same resources.
The competitions exhibited within this invasive biome is both interspecific and intraspecific competition. The Asian Carp are competing for food between each other and other native fish species.
Genetic Diversity is the raw material that makes microevolution and adaptation to the environment possible.
Due to the extreme competition and predation, the genetic diversity significantly decreases among the native species within their natural ecosystem. The more native fish that die, the more decreased number of genes are contributed to the gene pool and therefore, creates less diversity among species.
Species diversity is the variations of species within an ecosystem.
The potential for Asian Carp to over feed on a single species and possibly cause an extinction of that species is highly plausible. Asian Carp aid in this alarming decrease of species diversity within the lakes and rivers that they have invaded.
Ecosystem diversity is the effects that the local extinction of one species can have on the entire ecosystem. It drastically alters the relationship among species that naturally exist and can have huge downfalls.
By potentially putting a species that is fundamental to the food chain in a position of possible extinction, Asian Carp contribute significantly to damaging the ecosystem diversity. Not only do they eliminate the species that is vital to the food chains of so many aquatic species, but they decrease the population density of the other native fish.
The sun provides nutrients for the start of the chain.
Phytoplankton, autotrophic plankton that is the primary producer within this food chain.
Zooplankton act as the primary consumer within this food chain.
A variety of small fish within the food chain act as the secondary consumers.
Asian Carp act as the secondary and tertiary consumer depending upon which part of the food chain they feed.
As shown here, humans become the quaternary consumer.
Food Web of Asian Carp
What's the difference?
A food chain is linear and includes usually a simplified version of one species feeding upon another. A food web takes into account species sharing the same food source.
Before the invasion of Asian Carp, native fish were able to compete for their food at a natural pace and there was a balance to the ecosystem. After the invasion, the species quickly disrupted this natural balance and easily out ate what the ecosystem was able to support. The level of intraspecific and interspecific competition becomes palpable and uncontrollable rapidly.
Native Food Web
By comparing the food chain of the Asian Carp to that of the Lake Trout shown here, it is quite distinguishable that both have drastically similar food patterns. This then explains why the native species are so affected by the Asian Carp. If the Asian Carp take the majority of food available, it will leave the native species to starve.