Climatic facilitation of the colonization of an estuary by Acartia tonsaReport as inadecuate

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1 Laboratoire de Génétique et Evolution des Populations Végétales

Abstract : Global change has become a major driving force of both terrestrial and marine systems. Located at the interface between these two realms, estuarine ecosystems are probably the place where both direct and indirect effects of human activities conspire together to affect biodiversity from phytoplankton to top predators. Among European estuarine systems, the Gironde is the largest estuary of Western Europe and many studies have provided evidence that it has been affected by a variety of anthropogenic stressors such as thermal and chemical pollution, physical alterations and exploitation, especially for maritime traffic. In such a context, species introduction is also a current major issue with the establishment of strong competitive species that could lead to ecosystem reorganization with potential decrease or even disappearance of native species. In the Gironde estuary, this hypothesis was proposed for the invasive shrimp species Palaemon macrodactylus as a decrease in the native species abundance was observed at the same time. Although species introduction often takes place via ballast water, the influence of climate-driven changes on the establishment of new species remains a key issue. The calanoid copepod Acartia tonsa, observed in the Gironde estuary for the first time in 1983, have since colonized most part of the estuary, reaching a level of abundance comparable to the dominant native species Eurytemora affinis. In this study, using both the concept of the ecological niche sensu Hutchinson fundamental and realized niches and statistical models, we reveal that the dynamics of the colonization of A. tonsa was facilitated by environmental conditions that have become closer to its environmental optimum with respect to temperature and salinity.

Author: A. Chaalali G. Beaugrand V. Raybaud E. Goberville - V. David P. Boët B. Sautour



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