Two centuries of spatial and temporal dynamics of freshwater fish introductions

Aim Investigating major freshwater fish flows (translocations) between biogeographic regions and their temporal dynamics and also quantifying spatial patterns and temporal changes in the array of introduced species, and the emergence and distance between major donor and recipient regions. Location Global. Time Period 1800–2020. Major Taxa Studied Freshwater fishes. Methods We analysed a global dataset on freshwater fish introductions (4241 events of 688 species). Freshwater fish flows were investigated with flow diagrams and χ2 tests, while PERMANOVA (permutational multivariate analysis of variance) was used to test the association between species and regions and temporal shifts. Cluster analysis revealed major recipient areas and composition of the introduced species. Finally, changes in distances between donor and recipient sites were tested with PERMANOVA. Results The number of introductions between biogeographic regions mirrored the European and North American dominance before World War II (WWII) and the trends in recreational fishing, biocontrol programmes and food production, especially in the Sino-Oriental region, which has a long tradition of aquaculture and fishkeeping. Over the years, the origins and composition of introduced species changed uniquely in each biogeographic region, although the most introduced species are common to every region. Salmonids and other cold-water species were frequently introduced before the 1950s, whereas tropical ornamental and aquaculture species currently prevail. Distances between donor and recipient sites did not vary over the time. After WWII, the Sino-Oriental region consolidated its dominance and the Ethiopian and Neotropical regions emerged as new global donor and recipient regions. Main Conclusions Global policy should focus on tropical ornamental and aquaculture species, which could benefit from global warming, especially in the Sino-Oriental region, because it currently dominates freshwater fish species flows, and the Ethiopian and Neotropical regions, because they recently emerged as important global donor and recipient regions of freshwater fish introductions ​
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