JUL 10, 2017 06:50 AM PDT

Invasive Alien Carp Are Threatening Our Waterbirds

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
SEP 12, 2018
Health & Medicine
SEP 12, 2018
Can This Exotic Fruit Prevent Obesity?
Not a week goes by that there isn’t a new superfood or some exotic fruit or spice that can curb your appetite, burn fat while you sleep, and boost en...
SEP 16, 2018
Plants & Animals
SEP 16, 2018
If You Thought T. Rex Was Big, Then Watch This
Dinosaur-themed Hollywood movies have hyped up Tyrannosaurus Rex, making it seem like the king of all dinosaurs. But realistically, T. Rex was quite small...
SEP 19, 2018
Genetics & Genomics
SEP 19, 2018
Forensic Efforts To Combat Ivory Poaching
Scientists are using DNA testing to identify poaching hotspots, and criminal networks....
OCT 29, 2018
Plants & Animals
OCT 29, 2018
New Evidence for Climate Change-Driven Extinction in Tropical Birds
Climate change is having a profound impact on global animal populations, and as the results of a study published this week in the journal Proceedings of th...
NOV 12, 2018
Plants & Animals
NOV 12, 2018
Researchers Link Sunfish Brain Size to Specific Habitats
To most people, a specific fish species would be the same whether it was found at the shoreline or in the middle of the ocean. But according to research pu...
NOV 12, 2018
Plants & Animals
NOV 12, 2018
Steaks Aren't the Only Things We Get From Cows
It’s no secret that cows are routinely slaughtered for beef, but what if we told you that only about 60% of the cow gets harvested for food? Fret not...
Loading Comments...