Does anthropogenic introduction of guppy fish (Poecilia reticulata) impact faunal species diversity and abundance in natural aquatic habitats? A systematic review protocol
The guppy fish (Poecilia reticulata) is a tropical fish ancestrally linked to northern South America and the Caribbean. It is known to be very tolerant of and adaptable to new environments, and able to consume multiple food sources, including mosquito larvae. Consequently, guppies have been frequently introduced to non-native ecosystems to control mosquito populations, resulting in near-global distribution. Indeed, due to the increasing need for mosquito-borne disease control, guppy releases will likely continue, however there are concerns about potential adverse impacts on other species, biodiversity, and certain ecosystem functions. The most significant of these is local species extinction, and by extension, reduced biodiversity. Yet, the extent of these impacts has not been evaluated by scientific review. Accordingly, this study will examine and evaluate whether anthropogenic introduction of guppy fish (Poecilia reticulata) has impacts on faunal species diversity and abundance in natural aquatic habitats. The results of this review may have implications for environmental management and policy and inform ecosystem-based integrated vector management and public health policy.
Relevant scientific articles will be identified by searching electronic databases. Articles will be included if they report changes or differences, associated with guppy fish introduction, in at least one of these population parameters: (1) abundance of individuals in any species, (2) total abundance of individuals in all species present, (3) species richness, (4) species diversity, and (5) community evenness. Each article will be assessed by at least two independent reviewers against pre-defined inclusion/exclusion criteria. Snowballing reference lists of included articles will be conducted. At least two reviewers will critically appraise all included studies using the Collaboration for Environmental Evidence Critical Appraisal Tool (CEECAT) and any discrepancies will be resolved by discussion between the two or adjudication by a third author if agreement is not reached. Each study will also be subjected to data extraction against pre-defined qualitative and quantitative outcomes and results will be tabulated/presented in figures where appropriate. A meta-analysis will be carried out on outcome parameters with sufficient evidence.