Plankton hitch-hikers on naturalists’ instruments as silent intruders of aquatic ecosystems: current risks and possible prevention

Łukasz Wejnerowski, Tümer Orhun Aykut, Aleksandra Pełechata, Michał Rybak, Tamara Dulić, Jussi Meriluoto, Marcin Krzysztof Dziuba

Tutkimustuotos: LehtiartikkeliArtikkeliTieteellinenvertaisarvioitu

2 Sitaatiot (Scopus)


Organism dispersal is nowadays highly driven by human vectors. This also refers to the aquatic organisms that can often silently spread in and invade new waters, especially when human vectors of dispersal act without brakes. Thus, it is mandatory to continuously identify human-mediated mechanisms of organism dispersal and implement proper biosecurity treatments. In this study, we demonstrate how the plankton net – one of the basic instruments in the equipment of every plankton sampling person is a good vector for plankton dispersal and invasions. We also demonstrate whether keeping the net in an ethanol solution after sampling is a proper biosecurity treatment, and what kind of treatments are implemented by people worldwide. The first simulation shows that bloom-forming cyanobacteria can easily infiltrate into the new environment thanks to the nets, and can prosper there. However, ethanol-based biosecurity treatment efficiently prevented their spread and proliferation in the new environment. The second simulation, based on wild plankton from an eutrophic lake, indicates that a plethora of phyto and zooplankton taxa can infiltrate into the new waterbody through the net and sustain themselves there if the net is only flushed in the waterbody and left to dry after sampling (an approach that is commonly used by naturalists). Here, we also show that native plankton residents strongly shape the fate of hitch-hikers, but some of them like cyanobacteria can successfully compete with residents. Survey data alert us to the fact that the vast majority of biologists use either ineffective or questionable biosecurity treatments and only less than a tenth of samplers implement treatments based on disinfectant liquids. Our results emphasize that the lack of proper biosecurity methods implemented by the biologists facilitates the spread and invasions of plankton including also invasive species of a great nuisance to native ecosystems. Considering that naturalists usually use different instruments that might also be good vectors of plankton dispersal, it is necessary to develop proper uniform biosecurity treatments. No longer facilitating the plankton spread through hydrobiological instruments is the milestone that we, plankton samplers worldwide, should achieve together in the nearest future if we want to continue our desire to explore, understand, protect and save nature.

DOI - pysyväislinkit
TilaJulkaistu - 25 toukok. 2022
OKM-julkaisutyyppiA1 Julkaistu artikkeli, soviteltu


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