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Geological and evolutionary underpinnings for the success of Ponto-Caspian species invasions in the Baltic Sea and North American Great Lakes
Reid, D.F.; Orlova, M.I. (2002). Geological and evolutionary underpinnings for the success of Ponto-Caspian species invasions in the Baltic Sea and North American Great Lakes. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 59(7): 1144-1158
In: Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences = Journal canadien des sciences halieutiques et aquatiques. National Research Council Canada: Ottawa. ISSN 0706-652X, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Reid, D.F.
  • Orlova, M.I.

Abstract
    Between 1985 and 2000, ~70% of new species that invaded the North American Great Lakes were endemic to the Ponto-Caspian (Caspian, Azov, and Black seas) basins of eastern Europe. Sixteen Ponto-Caspian species were also established in the Baltic Sea as of 2000. Many Ponto-Caspian endemic species are characterized by wide environmental tolerances and high phenotypic variability. Ponto-Caspian fauna evolved over millions of years in a series of large lakes and seas with widely varying salinities and water levels and alternating periods of isolation and open connections between the Caspian Sea and Black Sea depressions and between these basins and the Mediterranean Basin and the World Ocean. These conditions probably resulted in selection of Ponto-Caspian endemic species for the broad environmental tolerances and euryhalinity many exhibit. Both the Baltic Sea and the Great Lakes are geologically young and present much lower levels of endemism. The high tolerance of Ponto-Caspian fauna to varying environmental conditions, their ability to survive exposure to a range of salinities, and the similarity in environmental conditions available in the Baltic Sea and Great Lakes probably contribute to the invasion success of these species. Human activities have dramatically increased the opportunities for transport and introduction and have played a catalytic role.

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