Ecological niche models reveal the potential zones of invasion of the cobia (Rachycentron canadum) in the Eastern Pacific Ocean

Emigdio Marín-Enríquez, J. Saúl Ramírez-Pérez, Víctor Cruz-Escalona, Xchel G. Moreno-Sánchez, Gustavo A. Rodríguez-Montes de Oca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Cobias (Rachycentron canadum) are large fish that live in all the tropical oceans of the world, except for the Eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO). During 2015, a cobia cage culture was initiated in the EPO off Ecuador. Thousands of cobia individuals escaped from the culture, and the location of the escapees is unknown. In this paper, we used a Maximum Entropy (MaxEnt) model to assess the preferential habitat of cobia in a portion of its natural occurrence range and used the model to predict the potential invasion zones of cobia in the EPO. The model performance was satisfactory (75–93% accuracy). Mixed Layer Depth (MLD) was the most important environmental variable. Cobia inhabits waters near the continental shelf, with a shallow MLD. Five important zones of high probability of invasion were detected in the EPO: one in the southern California Current, one in the Central Mexican Pacific, one off Guatemala/El Salvador, one in a latitudinal band that detaches from the coastline of Central America, and one off Northern Chile. There is an important seasonal variation of the zones of high probability of cobia invasion, variation that is apparently related to the seasonal cycle of different large-scale and mesoscale systems.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHydrobiologia
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Gulf of Mexico
  • Invasive species
  • MaxEnt
  • Northwestern Atlantic Ocean
  • Probability of occurrence

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