Eriocheir sinensis H. Milne Edwards, 1853 is on the list of top 100 invaders compiled by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. The recent establishment of a large Chinese mitten crab population in San Francisco Bay and the potential for introductions from California, Asia and Europe pose a significant invasion potential for estuaries and rivers from California to Alaska. This alien species would place at risk the catchment areas of the Pacific Northwest including the economic and social activities that depend upon intact aquatic systems. An analysis of ecological conditions that define the mitten crab’s native and introduced range suggests that large stable estuaries with long flushing times are necessary to sustain significant populations. Most Pacific Northwest estuaries have limited salinity intrusion, estuarine habitat and short flushing times and face a reduced risk of population establishment. Large, stable estuaries, such as the Puget Sound, may support significant populations. River-dominated estuaries, such as the Columbia River, have flushing times less than the duration of larval development and wouldn’t support populations. An application of a temperature based larval development rate to near-shore and estuary sea surface temperatures suggests that estuaries in Oregon and Washington have sufficient thermal regimes to support larval development. Most estuary systems in Alaska have limited periods where water temperatures are above the mortality threshold for the larval stages and are at a low risk for the establishment of populations. A potential sea temperature rise of two degrees Celsius would permit larval development in Alaskan estuaries, where sufficient estuarine and freshwater habitats exist.
- Aquatic ecology -- Research -- United States,
- Invasive species,
- Mitten crab,
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/mark_sytsma/49/