Richness - Abundance relationships for zooplankton in ballast water: Temperate versus Arctic comparisons

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ICES Journal of Marine Science





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Species richness and abundance are two commonly measured parameters used to characterize invasion risk associated with transport vectors, especially those capable of transferring large species assemblages. Understanding the relationship between these two variables can further improve our ability to predict future invasions by identifying conditions where high-risk (i.e. species-rich or high abundance or both) and low-risk (i.e. species-poor and low abundance) introduction events are expected. While ballast water is one of the best characterized transport vectors of aquatic non-indigenous species, very few studies have assessed its magnitude at high latitudes. We assessed the arrival potential of zooplankton via ballast water in the Canadian Arctic by examining species richness, total abundance, and the relationship between the two parameters for zoo plankton in ships from Europe destined for the Arctic, in comparison with the same parameters for ships bound for Atlantic Canada and the Great Lakes. In addition, we examined whether species richness and/or total abundance were influenced by temperature change and/or ballast water age for each shipping route. We found that species richness and total abundance for Arctic and Great Lakes ships were significantly lower than those for Atlantic ships. Differences in species richness and total abundance for ships utilizing different shipping routes were mostly related to ballast water age. A significant species richness-total abundance relationship for Arctic and Great Lakes ships suggests that these parameters decreased proportionately as ballast water aged. In contrast, the absence of such a relationship for Atlantic ships suggests that decreases in total abundance were accompanied by little to no reduction in species richness. Collectively, our results indicate that the arrival potential of zooplankton in ballast water of Arctic ships may be lower than or similar to that of Atlantic and Great Lakes ships, respectively. © International Council for the Exploration of the Sea 2014. All rights reserved.