Ecosystem effects of red king crab invasion. A modelling approach using Ecopath with Ecosim
Barents Sea ecosystem is limited. Due to the information available on benthos the Ecopath model of Sørfjord, Northern Norway, was used to investigate possible trophic changes with introduction of king crab to the model. A literature study of the king crab was conducted to find information on diet, mortality, consumption rate and other life history parameters required by the model. A short introduction to biological invasions was also included. The Ecopath with Ecosim software was used as a modelling tool to investigate factors allowing for growth of king crab as well as potentially controlling their biomass. Possible food-web effects of king crab invasion on the Sørfjord ecosystem was also investigated. Knowledge gaps identified through the exercise and management implications were discussed. A biomass of 1.2 t km-2 small and 2.8 t km-2 large king crabs was introduced to the Sørfjord model. The modelling exercise indicated that a resource opportunity, in the form of benthic production, could allow for growth of the king crab in Sørfjord. Mammals could have a negative impact on large king crab abundance through predation, while fish predation is expected to have minor effects on king crab biomass. King crabs are expected to have a negative effect on the benthic community through predation, but limited impact on the pelagic community. King crab abundance could be controlled by fishing large king crabs. A change in fishing of other commercial fish species is not expected to have an impact on king crab biomass. Knowledge gaps identified from this exercise includes population structure, biology and food preference of king crab. Production and interactions within the native benthic community should also be investigated further to understand possible impacts of king crab invasion.
PublisherUniversitetet i Tromsø
University of Tromsø
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