Spatial patterns of lacustrine fish assemblages in a catchment of the Mississippi Alluvial Valley

Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems
By: , and 

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Abstract

  1. In the alluvial valley of the lower Mississippi River, floodplain lakes form isolated aquatic fragments that retain differing degrees of connectivity to neighbouring rivers. Within these floodplain lakes it was hypothesized that fish species composition, relative abundance, and biodiversity metrics would be shaped largely by aquatic connectivity within a catchment.
  2. Fish assemblages in 13 floodplain lakes (five on-channel; eight off-channel) were assessed with electrofishing in 2006–2012 in the Bear Creek catchment, Mississippi, USA. Bear Creek spans approximately 80 km before draining into the Yazoo River, a tributary of the Mississippi River.
  3. Fish assemblages in on-channel and off-channel lakes were different, and fish assemblages in on-channel lakes were as a group more homogeneous than off-channel lakes. Moreover, a longitudinal gradient in fish assemblages occurred in on-channel lakes. The observed patterns in fish assemblages are linked largely to differing intensities in connectivity among lakes within the catchment. Lakes with irregular connections have greater individuality, whereas lakes with continuous or chronic connection are more similar. The wide variation in connectivity could be a key to the distinctive biodiversity of catchments and the focus of fish conservation programmes.
  4. Off-channel floodplain lakes are among the first landscape elements to vanish as a consequence of agricultural development. These habitats tend to accumulate sediments at fast rates and are converted to agricultural land as soon as suitable drainage can be attained. Considering that off-channel lakes with limited connectivity contribute greatly to the heterogeneity of fish assemblages, such losses pose great concerns to conservation of biodiversity.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Spatial patterns of lacustrine fish assemblages in a catchment of the Mississippi Alluvial Valley
Series title Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems
DOI 10.1002/aqc.2468
Volume 24
Issue 5
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Atlanta
Description 11 p.
First page 634
Last page 644
Country United States
State Mississippi
Other Geospatial Bear Creek
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N