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Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem Report

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Invasive species are one of the top two threats to native biodiversity worldwide (Mack et al. 2000). A primary goal of invasion biology is to predict which introduced species become invasive, or reach pest status, and which systems are susceptible to invasion (Heger and Trepl 2003). In order to complete this goal, it is vital to understand long-term dynamics of invasive species populations and their interactions with native communities in their introduced range. Most studies of invasions by non-native species are not extensive enough to determine long-term effects on the native systems (Strayer 2010). The first objective of this study is to determine the long-term abundance and biomass of the New Zealand mud snail, (Potamopyrgus antipodarum), in the Greater Yellowstone Area (GYA). The second objective is to analyze the long-term effects of P. antipodarum on the biomass, abundance, and taxon diversity of native benthic invertebrate assemblages in the GYA. The ten-year span of data available for P. antipodarum and the native macroinvertebrate communities at Lower Polecat Creek in Grand Teton National Park and the Gibbon and Firehole Rivers in Yellowstone National Park provide a unique opportunity to study the macroinvertebrate community succession over time. Data from the proposed macroinvertebrate community survey in the summer of 2011 will be compiled with previous surveys from 2001-2009 to evaluate the long-term changes in the macroinvertebrate community at Polecat Creek and the Gibbon and Firehole Rivers.