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CHINESE MITTEN CRABS (ERIOCHEIR SINENSIS) IN THE ST. LAWRENCE RIVER (CANADA): NEW RECORDS AND RISK OF INVASION
DE LAFONTAINE, Y., R. CALVE, C. TEPOLT, AND S. DESPATIE. CHINESE MITTEN CRABS (ERIOCHEIR SINENSIS) IN THE ST. LAWRENCE RIVER (CANADA): NEW RECORDS AND RISK OF INVASION. Presented at International Conference on Aquatic Invasive Species, Key Biscayne, FL, May 14 - 17, 2006.
The goals of this research are to:
(1) determine how landscape characteristics relate to the spread of red shiner through southeastern river systems,
(2) identify behavioral and genetic mechanisms underlying interspecific hybridization, and
(3) develop models to assess the vulnerability of tributary streams to invasion by red shiner.
The Chinese mitten crab, Eriocheir sinensis, is an internationally renowned aquatic invader. Native to China and North/South Korea, this catadromous crab has successfully invaded several rivers and estuaries in eleven countries in Western Europe as well as the San Francisco Bay ecosystem in the United States. Once established, mitten crab populations can cause (1) significant ecological damage in terms of local biodiversity as a result of their abundance, and (2) structural damage to banks of rivers and estuaries as a result of their burrowing behavior. The species can also a affects the fisheryeconomy by fouling fishing gear and nets. The introduction and transfer of this pest species is generally associated with shipping via ballast water discharge and/or import for food consumption.
Given the recent ch;anges in the shipping trade between North America and Asia, the present study ivnestigated whether the risk of invasion via shipping into the St. Lawrence River has changed recently and whether any changes might have contributed to the recent introduction of the crab to the St. Lawrence River. The hypothesis that the frequency of inbound ships originating from countries with current Chinese mitten crab populations has changed in recent years was specifically tested.