Changes in the diversity of the populations of gammarid crustaceans
in the southern Baltic offshore waters
Laboratory for Polar Biology and Oceanobiology
University of Lodz
Gammarid crustaceans are common inhabitants of European shallow
brackish waters. In the impoverished Baltic Sea fauna they constitute a
major component of the near-shore macrofaunal communities, especially in
the phytal zone.
The identification of Baltic species of the genus Gammarus
was possible thanks to papers by Segerstråle (1947, 1950, 1959) and
Kinne (1954). At the time of publication five species (Gammarus.
duebeni, G. locusta, G. oceanicus, G. salinus
and G. zaddachi) were recorded from the Baltic Sea, and a sixth
species (G. inaequicauda) was later added by Jazdzewski (1970).
The changes in gammarid crustaceans in the
southern Baltic from the 1952 -1998. Red - Gammarus salinus,
Black - Gammarus locusta, Blue - Gammarus oceanicus,
Purple - Gammarus tigrinus, Green - Gammarus zaddachi,
Orange - Obesogammarus crassus, Yellow - Gammarus
duebeni, Light blue - Pontogammarus robustoides,
White - Gammarus inaequicauda, Pale purple - Dikerogammarus
In Lithuanian waters, in the oligohaline Curonian Lagoon, two alien
Ponto-Caspian gammarid species: Pontogammarus robustoides and Obesogammarus
crassus were recorded in the 1960s by Gasjunas (1972). These species
were intentionally introduced in 1960 to the Kaunas dam reservoir on the
Neman River, which empties to the Curonian Lagoon.
recorded Chaetogammarus ischnus, another Ponto-Caspian gammarid
in the mouth of the Vistula River. Although it is thought to have
already invaded the Vistula in the 1920s (Jarocki & Demianowicz
1931). Jazdzewski (1976) discovered the Atlantic-boreal species, Chaetogammarus
stoerensis, in the southern Baltic. Bulnheim (1976) also recorded
another alien gammarid Gammarus tigrinus, which is of North
American origin, in the Schlei estuary. It had entered the Baltic Sea
basin from the middle course of Werra River in Germany in the 1950s.
New alien gammarids
In the last decade further records of new alien gammarid species in
Baltic offshore oligohaline waters have appeared in several papers:
Gruszka (1995, 1999) records the occurrence of G. tigrinus and P.
robustoides in the Szczecin Lagoon, and Konopacka (1998), Jazdzewski
& Konopacka (2000) and Konopacka & Jazdzewski (in press) notes
the occurrence of these two species and Dikerogammarus haemobaphes
and Obesogammarus crassus in the Vistula Lagoon and old brackish
arms of the Vistula. Müller et al. (in press) also recorded Dikerogammarus
villosus, the next Ponto-Caspian immigrant, in the Szczecin Lagoon.
As a result, in the Baltic proper and its offshore lagoons and estuarine
waters, we now have seven species of Gammarus, two species of Chaetogammarus,
two species of Dikerogammarus, and one species each of Pontogammarus
Changes in Polish waters
In the Polish waters of the Baltic Sea gammarid populations were
comprehensively studied by Jazdzewski (1971, 1973) in the Bay of Puck,
with some less detailed data available from the Vistula Lagoon in the
papers by Zmudzinski (1957) and Jazdzewski (1975). We therefore have
information on the relations between particular gammarid species in
these two basins from the 1960s (Bay of Puck) and the 1950s (Vistula
Lagoon) with quite recent studies from the Bay of Puck by Jeczmien &
Szaniawska (2000), Morawski (unpubl.) and Stos (unpubl.) and in the
Vistula Lagoon by Jazdzewski et al. (in press). This has allowed us to
compare the present composition of gammarid populations in the Bay of
Puck and in the Vistula Lagoon with that occurring several decades ago.
In the Bay of Puck we still have only native species, but due to the
eutrophication of this basin two more oxyphilous gammarids, G.
locusta and G. inaequicauda evidently give way to the more
resistant G. zaddachi, G. salinus and G. oceanicus
Decline in native species
In the oligohaline waters of the Vistula Lagoon native G. zaddachi
is now outcompeted by a much more eurytopic G. duebeni and by
alien immigrants of the last decade, especially G. tigrinus, P.
robustoides and O. crassus. The freshwater oligohaline
species Dikerogammarus haemobaphes occurs in the Vistula
Lagoon only in its westernmost, least saline parts.
The data presented in the figure is the summary of the many samples
collected along the whole shoreline of the study area and so they do not
reflect the local diversity of gammarid populations connected with
different ecological conditions (especially salinity) at particular
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