Annual growth increments were calculated for blue catfish (Ictalurus furcatus) and flathead catfish (Pylodictis olivaris) from the lower Mississippi River (LMR) to assess hypothesized relationships between fish growth and floodplain inundation as predicted by the Flood-Pulse Concept. Variation in catfish growth increment was high for all age classes of both species, and growth increments were not consistently related to various measures of floodplain inundation. However, relationships became stronger, and usually direct, when water temperature was integrated with area and duration of floodplain inundation. Relationships were significant for four of six age classes for blue catfish, a species known to utilize floodplain habitats. Though similar in direction, relationships were weaker for flathead catfish, which is considered a more riverine species. Our results indicate the Flood-Pulse Concept applies more strongly to temperate floodplain-river ecosystems when thermal aspects of flood pulses are considered. We recommend that future management of the LMR should consider ways to 'recouple' the annual flood and thermal cycles. An adaptive management approach will allow further determination of important processes affecting fisheries production in the LMR. Copyright ?? John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Additional Publication Details
Applicability of the flood-pulse concept in a temperate floodplain river ecosystem: Thermal and temporal components