Land use structures fish assemblages in reservoirs of the Tennessee River

Marine and Freshwater Research
By: , and 

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Abstract

Inputs of nutrients, sediments and detritus from catchments can promote selected components of reservoir fish assemblages, while hindering others. However, investigations linking these catchment subsidies to fish assemblages have generally focussed on one or a handful of species. Considering this paucity of community-level awareness, we sought to explore the association between land use and fish assemblage composition in reservoirs. To this end, we compared fish assemblages in reservoirs of two sub-basins of the Tennessee River representing differing intensities of agricultural development, and hypothesised that fish assemblage structure indicated by species percentage composition would differ among reservoirs in the two sub-basins. Using multivariate statistical analysis, we documented inter-basin differences in land use, reservoir productivity and fish assemblages, but no differences in reservoir morphometry or water regime. Basins were separated along a gradient of forested and non-forested catchment land cover, which was directly related to total nitrogen, total phosphorous and chlorophyll-a concentrations. Considering the extensive body of knowledge linking land use to aquatic systems, it is reasonable to postulate a hierarchical model in which productivity has direct links to terrestrial inputs, and fish assemblages have direct links to both land use and productivity. We observed a shift from an invertivore-based fish assemblage in forested catchments to a detritivore-based fish assemblage in agricultural catchments that may be a widespread pattern among reservoirs and other aquatic ecosystems.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Land use structures fish assemblages in reservoirs of the Tennessee River
Series title Marine and Freshwater Research
DOI 10.1071/MF14188
Volume 66
Issue 6
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher CSIRO Publishing
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Atlanta
Description 9 p.
First page 526
Last page 534
Country United States
Other Geospatial Tennessee River
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N