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Conservation of endangered galaxiid fishes in the Falkland Islands requires urgent action on invasive brown trout

Carlos Garcia De Leaniz Orcid Logo, Jessica Minett, D. M. Fowler, J. A. H. Jones, P. Brickle, G. T. Crossin, Sofia Consuegra del Olmo Orcid Logo

Biological Invasions

Swansea University Authors: Carlos Garcia De Leaniz Orcid Logo, Jessica Minett, Sofia Consuegra del Olmo Orcid Logo

Abstract

Non-native salmonids are protected in the Southern hemisphere where they sustain aquaculture and lucrative sport fisheries, but also impact many native fishes, which poses a conservation conundrum. Legal protection and human-assisted secondary releases may have helped salmonids to spread, but this h...

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Published in: Biological Invasions
ISSN: 1387-3547 1573-1464
Published: Springer
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa61825
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Abstract: Non-native salmonids are protected in the Southern hemisphere where they sustain aquaculture and lucrative sport fisheries, but also impact many native fishes, which poses a conservation conundrum. Legal protection and human-assisted secondary releases may have helped salmonids to spread, but this has seldom been tested. We reconstructed the introduction of brown trout (Salmo trutta) to the Falkland Islands using historical records and modelled its dispersal and probability of invasion using a generalized linear model and Leave One out Cross Validation. Our results indicate that establishment success was ~ 88%, and that dispersal was facilitated over land by proximity to invaded sites and density of stream-road crossings, suggesting it was human assisted. Brown trout have already invaded 54% of Falkland rivers, which are 2.9–4.5 times less likely to contain native galaxiids than uninvaded streams. Without strong containment we predict brown trout will invade nearly all suitable freshwater habitats in the Falklands within the next ~ 70 years, which might put native freshwater fishes at a high risk of extinction.
College: College of Science
Funders: Funding from Fortuna Ltd. and Swansea University College of Science is gratefully acknowledged.