Estuaries play an important role as nurseries and migration corridors for Chinook salmon and other fishes. The invasive New Zealand mudsnail, Potamopyrgus antipodarum (Gray, 1843), has been noted in the Columbia River Estuary and other estuaries in the western USA, yet no studies have addressed the estuarine impacts of this invader. Our data show P. antipodarum is currently found in five peripheral bays and many tributaries of the Columbia River Estuary, where it can constitute a major portion of the benthic invertebrate biomass and where it co-occurs with native amphipod species. We review the history of the P. antipodarum invasion in the Columbia River Estuary and discuss potential impacts on estuarine food webs. We also report the first occurrence of P. antipodarum in the diet of juvenile Chinook salmon from the Columbia River Estuary. Although present in Chinook diets at very low frequencies, our observations of P. antipodarum in Chinook gut contents may represent early stages of food web change due to the establishment of dense estuarine snail populations. Additional research is needed to determine the effects of P. antipodarum on benthic resources, native benthic invertebrates, and benthic predators. We encourage biologists working in western USA estuaries to be alert to the possibility of encountering P. antipodarum in benthic habitats and predator diets.
- Aquatic ecology -- Research -- United States,
- Invasive species,
- Columbia River Basin -- Environmental conditions,
- New Zealand mudsnail
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/mark_sytsma/47/