Friday April 22, 2022

Cornell Chronicle

Non-native bullfrogs and sunfish species, introduced for consumer and sport purposes, are known to alter ecosystems and hinder native amphibians and fish in the Pacific Northwest highlands. But scant research exists about how these introductions affect native species in lowland floodplains.

A new study of a southwestern Washington floodplain finds that most native species adjust well to the invaders by shifting their food sources and feeding strategies.

The results may hold true for other lowland waterbodies and other native species in response to bullfrogs and sunfish invaders. The findings could also help wildlife managers develop appropriate action plans where these non-natives are established.

“The study shows that native species, at least in this floodplain, can tolerate non-native bullfrogs and sunfish,” said Meredith Holgerson, assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and first author of the study, “Freshwater Floodplain Habitats Buffer Native Food Webs from Negative Effects of Non-native Centrarchids and Bullfrogs,” published online March 28 in the journal Freshwater Science.

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