Although community structure may be largely determined by local abiotic and biotic conditions under moderate levels of dispersal, anthropogenic activities can enhance dispersal rates far beyond what would otherwise occur in natural systems. We investigated the potential impact of recreational canoeing on crustacean zooplankton community structure in Killarney Provincial Park, Canada, where canoes that are transported between lakes via portage routes may enhance zooplankton community connectivity by providing a dispersal “short-cut.” We conducted a study to (1) quantify zooplankton attachment to canoe hulls after paddling through a lake and assess the importance of canoes to overall seasonal dispersal within a lake relative to other means of dispersal, (2) test the prediction that zooplankton survivorship is negatively correlated with portage duration using a mesocosm experiment, and (3) test whether variation in lake community composition was better explained by models based on reduced portage-corrected distances or true edge-to-edge distances between lakes along popular canoe routes. Here, we report the findings that canoes have the potential to act as frequent dispersal vectors, but appear to have little impact on community structure in portage-connected lakes. Substantial numbers of adult zooplankton became attached to canoe hulls and were able to establish viable populations even after exposure to portage conditions for 30 min. However, canoe-mediated dispersal only accounted for a very small proportion (<1% in this case) of overall seasonal dispersal. Moreover, environmental variables explained the greatest amount of variation in community composition among park lakes. Nevertheless, this study indicates that canoe dispersal could be more effective for specific species such as Sida crystallina than is evident by analysis of entire communities and could facilitate the spread of invasive species amenable to attaching to boat hulls. Thus, the debate about whether community composition is more strongly influenced by local environmental conditions or regional dispersal may vary depending on the scale of consideration (i.e., individual species vs. whole community).
- Fishes -- Effect of human beings on,
- Biotic communities
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/angela_strecker/14/