An evaluation of the relations between flow regime components, stream characteristics, species traits and meta-demographic rates of warmwater stream fishes: Implications for aquatic resource management

River Research and Applications
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Abstract

Fishery biologists are increasingly recognizing the importance of considering the dynamic nature of streams when developing streamflow policies. Such approaches require information on how flow regimes influence the physical environment and how those factors, in turn, affect species-specific demographic rates. A more cost-effective alternative could be the use of dynamic occupancy models to predict how species are likely to respond to changes in flow. To appraise the efficacy of this approach, we evaluated relative support for hypothesized effects of seasonal streamflow components, stream channel characteristics, and fish species traits on local extinction, colonization, and recruitment (meta-demographic rates) of stream fishes. We used 4 years of seasonal fish collection data from 23 streams to fit multistate, multiseason occupancy models for 42 fish species in the lower Flint River Basin, Georgia. Modelling results suggested that meta-demographic rates were influenced by streamflows, particularly short-term (10-day) flows. Flow effects on meta-demographic rates also varied with stream size, channel morphology, and fish species traits. Small-bodied species with generalized life-history characteristics were more resilient to flow variability than large-bodied species with specialized life-history characteristics. Using this approach, we simplified the modelling framework, thereby facilitating the development of dynamic, spatially explicit evaluations of the ecological consequences of water resource development activities over broad geographic areas. Published 2014. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title An evaluation of the relations between flow regime components, stream characteristics, species traits and meta-demographic rates of warmwater stream fishes: Implications for aquatic resource management
Series title River Research and Applications
DOI 10.1002/rra.2835
Volume 31
Issue 10
Year Published 2015
Language English
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Seattle
Description 10 p.
First page 1227
Last page 1241
Country United States
State Georgia
Other Geospatial Flint River
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N