With increased trade in the expanded EU and between the EU and the rest of the world, alien species introductions are a growing concern to national governments and international organizations. Protocols are being developed to assess the risks and impacts of alien fishes, but these require knowledge of the processes and mechanisms associated with the four phases of biological invasion: Introduction, Establishment, Dispersion, and Impact. Of these, dispersion is least understood for alien freshwater fishes. The proposed fellowship will contribute to international efforts in biodiversity and species conservation through an understanding of dispersion processes of invasive freshwater fishes, in particular a sedentary omnivorous North American sunfish and two top European predators. The fellowship's specific objectives will be to:
1) determine the dispersion potential of predatory fishes, in particular the wels catfish Siluris glanis and the pikeperch Sander lucioperca, with specific reference to the frequency and timing of salt/brackish water incursions by pikeperch; and
2) assess the dependence of successful establishment in river catchments by the sedentary omnivorous North American sunfish, pumpkinseed Lepomis gibbosus on access to adjacent still waters, with particular regard to diel and seasonal movements. The objectives will be achieved using telemetry and otolith microchemistry, methods for which the host institution is an international centre of excellence. To enhance quality and assure success, the fellowship will be nested within, and will receive complementary resources from, a nationally-funded research contract on the risks and impacts of non-native freshwater fishes, led by the Scientist- in-Charge, an experienced supervisor of successful post-doctoral (including Marie Curie) and PhD training periods. The candidate will acquire expertise and technical know-how currently unavailable in Lithuania.
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