JUL 10, 2017 6:50 AM PDT

Invasive Alien Carp Are Threatening Our Waterbirds

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

In many freshwater lakes around the world, carp of all kinds are a common sight. These bottom-feeding fish can grow anywhere between two to three feet in length. They’re also an incredibly invasive species, and they appear to be having a negative impact on the bodies of water where they’re introduced.

Alien carp are incredibly invasive, and they pose a threat to waterbirds and diving ducks every time they are introduced to a new ecosystem.

Image Credit: Capri23auto/Pixabay

In particular, researchers based out of the University of Barcelona have noticed a significant decline in both diving ducks and waterbirds that hang out around the world’s freshwater lakes as a result of these carps’ presence.

Some of these, such as the white-headed duck (Oxyura leucocephala) and the common pochard (Aythya ferina) are listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as endangered and vulnerable species respectively.

In the journal Biological Conservation, the researchers lay out the details for their case, which studied the effects of carp on diving ducks and waterbirds in lakes found in the Mediterranean region; namely, in the Medina and Zoñar lakes that are found in South-Western Spain

Related: This fish has fleshy, goopy lips that protect it from coral stings

By tracking the ecosystem where common carp were introduced from 2001 to 2013, the researchers could establish a baseline and keep track of the effects of carp introduction on both waterbird populations and macrophyte cover; the latter was observed via satellite imagery.

What they had noticed were declines in as many as 69 waterbird species and/or diving ducks, while populations of fish-eating creatures, like herons, steadily increased in comparison.

In conclusion of the results that were observed, the researchers note that the introduction of invasive alien carp to non-native habitats poses a risk to countless existing waterbird and diving duck species and could be both dangerous and anti-productive in their conservation.

Related: Flushing certain chemicals may have an adverse side effect on wild fish genders

"The shallow lakes such as the ones in Medina and Zoñar are important lacustrine systems for the preservation of aquatic biodiversity in semi-arid regions such as the Mediterranean. Our scientific study concludes that there would be a severe impact on many water bird populations if all lakes were invaded by this exotic species," said Alberto Maceda Veiga, the study’s lead author.

To help resolve the problem, one of the only things we can do is try to control carp populations so that more waterbirds and diving ducks can thrive in their presence. Obviously, this also means preventing them from spreading to areas where they aren’t native.

An unrelated fact, carp are commonly eaten in countries around the world, but typically avoided as a food source in North America.

Source: Phys.org

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
DEC 04, 2019
Cannabis Sciences
DEC 04, 2019
Is Cannabis Helping America Sleep?
Researchers find cannabis is being used as a sleep-aid in Colorado. Many Americans struggle with sleep disturbances -- some estimates put the percentage at...
DEC 09, 2019
Plants & Animals
DEC 09, 2019
Can Scientists Revive the Northern White Rhino Population?
The Northern white rhino is already on the brink of extinction with just two living females in the world today. Sudan, the last surviving male of the speci...
DEC 10, 2019
Earth & The Environment
DEC 10, 2019
NOAA Unveils Florida Keys Reef Restoration Program
Earlier this week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced "Mission: Iconic Reefs"—a new strategy to restore a...
JAN 19, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 19, 2020
Study Reaffirms That An Asteroid Killed the Dinosaurs, Not Volcanoes
Oodles of massive fossils tell stories about the fearsome beasts that once roamed the Earth called dinosaurs. Some were merciless carnivores with jaws mean...
JAN 30, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
JAN 30, 2020
New Infrared Spectroscopic Method Grants Scientists Unprecedented "Seeing" Power
Infrared spectroscopy is a popular scientific method to identify and study molecules based on their absorption of infrared light. Scientists at the Max Pla...
FEB 13, 2020
Earth & The Environment
FEB 13, 2020
Contamination from Industrial Revolution Discovered in Himalayan Glacier
Scientific studies are revealing just how humans have impacted the environment over the past few centuries. Recently, scientists from Ohio State University...
Loading Comments...