Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Virginia
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Buckwalter, J.D., E.A. Frimpong, P.L. Angermeier, and J.N. Barney. 2020. Species traits predict
stream-fish invaders in an Appalachian (U.S.A) river basin. Freshwater Biology 65: 552-564.


We compared the influence of biological traits (morphology, physiology, reproduction, and life history), ecological traits (geographic distribution, habitat associations, food habits), and introduction attributes (propagule pressure, human use of a species, residence time) on invasion success of native and introduced stream fishes during the colonisation and spread stages in an Appalachian (U.S.A.) river basin.Colonisation success was positively related to residence time, benthic feeding, an equilibrium life‐history strategy, and nest spawning. Successful spread was associated with tolerance to increased temperature and an equilibrium life‐history strategy. The spread of introduced fishes was negatively related to gamefish status. No effect of propagule pressure was detected.Traits linked to invasion success were consistent with the hypothesis that human land‐use practices increase the invasibility of highland catchments by creating novel conditions better suited to lowland and equilibrium invaders.We found biological traits to be more useful than ecological traits in predicting invasion success and suggesting invasion mechanisms. Parental care and nest association can facilitate invasions over large spatial extents for both native and introduced fishes. Analyses of suites of traits can reveal mechanisms of invasions and tactics for controlling them; such mechanisms and tactics may be system‐specific and scale‐dependent.