Is Gammarus tigrinus (Crustacea, Amphipoda) becoming cosmopolitan through shipping? Predicting its potential invasive range using ecological niche modeling
Biomedical and Life Sciences
While the intensity of global shipping has increased dramatically over the last decades, species exchange between continents has likewise intensified. Ballast water of ships is recognized playing a major role in this process. Many of the larger sea ports have become bridgeheads for invasions. Ecological niche modeling is used to investigate the potential invasive range and high invasive risk ports of the North American amphipod Gammarus tigrinus. Sixty-two occurrences of G. tigrinus in its native range (North America) and 34 environmental data sets were compiled. Data on dispersal distances were used via ecological niche modeling to analyze the invasive potential of G. tigrinus. The invasive risk of large ports was analyzed according to modeling result, as well as their salinity in the main oceanic routes of the world. G. tigrinus had a rapid range extension on the British Isles and in the rest of Western Europe. Now it is invading the countries surrounding the Baltic Sea. Worldwide it has a vast potential invasive range. It has a high invasive risk for many large ports along the main oceanic routes, among which the ports of Shanghai, Buenos Aires and Montevideo have the highest invasive risk. G. tigrinus may become cosmopolitan through shipping, and this possibility is increasing. Particular emphasis should be placed on preventing human-mediated dispersal. Ports may be the first places G. tigrinus invades. This study can identify high invasive risk ports, especially those at risk of introduced North America species. More importantly, the water of large ports should be monitored regularly for exotic aquatic organisms that may survive temporarily or permanently.