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SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT OF WETLANDS. Invasive species in the Danube Delta and their impact on species diversity. Teodora Maria ONCIU ROMANIA - “Ovidius” University – Constanta. 2010. The location of the Danube Delta within Romania and Europe

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Invasive species in the Danube Delta

and their impact on species diversity

Teodora Maria ONCIU

ROMANIA - “Ovidius” University – Constanta


The location of the Danube Delta

within Romania and Europe

( [11February 2009 ])

The Danube is Europe’s second largest river,

2 860 km long, with a drainage basin of 810 000 km2,

covering almost one third of Europe

(major parts of 13 countries with more then 86 million inhabitants)

( [10 February 2009])

During about the last ten thousand

years the Danube river built,

on its junction with the Black Sea,

an unique wetland in Europe:

the Danube Delta.

The Delta covers a total area of

4 178 km2, shared by Romania (4/5)

and Ukraine (1/5).

There are many large lakes,

as well as the shallow marine waters

that limit the delta, forming a huge

wetland complex covering

more than 6 700 km2.

(Diaconu and Nichiforov, 1963)

The Danube has been connected via several canals with the main

Western Europe Rivers (Rhine, Main, and Odder), facilitating communications

with the North Sea and the Baltic Sea.

After 1984, the opening of the Danube-Black Sea Canal shortened the navigation

route towards the Black Sea by 250 km.

( [11 February 2009]

The Danube delta has a continental-temperate climate

(Paltineanu et al., 2000)

  • great amplitudes of temperatures;

  • annual average air temperature of 11 °C;

  • annual precipitations are generally scarce (average of 450 mm);

  • air humidity, increasing towards the east, due to intense evaporation in the zone.

  • Arguments for alien specie’s accommodation in the Danube Delta:

  • suitable temperatures for eurythermic organisms;

  • great diversity of habitats;

  • different ecosystems in a strong interdependence with free food-niches;

  • high natural productivity assuring abundant food for each trophic level;

  • Opportunities for incomers:

  • the Danube Delta is situated in the middle of the northern hemisphere

  • (crossed by the 45° N parallel of latitude) on the main migration routes;

  • communication with the brackish waters of the Atlantic Ocean

  • eastern regions through a large canal network and the Black Sea;

  • inhabitants are enterprising and begin different new farming activities.

  • Invasive species in the Danube Delta:

  • accidentally introduced species;

  • species that naturallyextend their range;

  • deliberately introduced species - object of farming

Accidentally introduced species

Anodonta woodiana


[February 2009]

Accidentally introduced species

Elodea canadensis

[11 February]

Pseudorasbora parva

[11 February]

Accidentally introduced species



  • Corbicula fluminea



  • [11 February]

Accidentally introduced species

Eriocheiron sinensis

[11 February]

Accidentally introduced species

  • Carassius auratus gibelio

  • penetrated at the beginning of the 70s;

  • became the most abundant species in the

  • Danube Delta replacing the crucian carp,

  • the common carp, etc.;

  • it presents a gynogenetical reproduction;

  • tolerates very well oxygen and

  • temperature variations, being able

  • to survive out of water for 3 hours.

  • ( )

  • [11 February]

Leptinotarsa decemlineata

Accidentally introduced species

Rhithropanopaeus harrisi tridentatus

[11 February]

  • brackish water species, common in the

  • eastern regions of the Atlantic;

  • it was found in the Razelm Lagoon

  • in 1951 by Bacescu;

  • enriched species diversity in the

  • Danube Delta without harmful action on

  • other species.

  • (Skolka and Gomoiu, 2004)

Accidentally introduced species

Beroe ovata

Mnemiopsis leidyi

[11 February]

Accidentally introduced species

Scapharca inaequivalvis

[11 February]

Mya arenaria

[11 February]

Species that naturallyextend their range

Canis auraeus

[11 February]

Species that naturallyextend their range

Nyctereutes procyonoides

[11 February]

Species that naturallyextend their range

Ondatra zibethicus; [11 February]

Species that naturallyextend their range

Syntarucus pirithous

[11 February]

Lampides boeticus

[11 February]

Species that naturallyextend their range

Cameraria ohridella

[11 February]

Phylloxera vastatrix

11 February]

Deliberately introduced species

Eleagnus angustifolia

[11 February]

Amorpha fruticosa

[11 February]

Deliberately introduced species

Robinia pseudoacacia

[11 February]

Populus sp.

[11 February]

Deliberately introduced species

Aristichthys nobilis

[11 February]

Deliberately introduced species

Ctenopharingodon idella


Hypophthalmichthys molitrix

[11 February]

Deliberately introduced species

Phasianus colchicus







  • Paltineanu, Cr., Mihailescu, I.Fl., Seceleanu, I. 2000 Dobrogea-condiţiile pedoclimatice,

  • consumul şi necesarul apei de irigaţie pentru principalele culturi agricole, Ed. Ex Ponto, Constanţa

  • Photographs:

  • BANARU Daniela

  • MUREŞAN Mihaela

  • ONCIUTeodora Maria


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