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Population characteristics and the influence of discharge on Bluehead Sucker and Flannelmouth Sucker

Copeia

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https://doi.org/10.1643/CE-16-554

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Abstract

Rivers are among some of the most complex and important ecosystems in the world. Unfortunately, many fishes endemic to rivers have suffered declines in abundance and distribution suggesting that alterations to lotic environments have negatively influenced native fish populations. Of the 35 fishes native to the Colorado River basin (CRB), seven are considered either endangered, threatened, or species of special concern. As such, the conservation of fishes native to the CRB is a primary interest for natural resource management agencies. One of the major factors limiting the conservation and management of fishes endemic to the CRB is the lack of basic information on their ecology and population characteristics. We sought to describe the population dynamics and demographics of three populations of Bluehead Suckers (Catostomus discobolus) and Flannelmouth Suckers (C. latipinnis) in Utah. Additionally, we evaluated the potential influence of altered flow regimes on the recruitment and growth of Bluehead Suckers and Flannelmouth Suckers. Mortality of Bluehead Suckers and Flannelmouth Suckers from the Green, Strawberry, and White rivers was comparable to other populations. Growth of Bluehead Suckers and Flannelmouth Suckers was higher in the Green, Strawberry, and White rivers when compared to other populations in the CRB. Similarly, recruitment indices suggested that Bluehead Suckers and Flannelmouth Suckers in the Green, Strawberry, and White rivers had more stable recruitment than other populations in the CRB. Models relating growth and recruitment to hydrological indices provided little explanatory power. Notwithstanding, our results indicate that Bluehead Suckers and Flannelmouth Suckers in the Green, Strawberry, and White rivers represent fairly stable populations and provide baseline information that will be valuable for the effective management and conservation of the species.

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Additional publication details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Population characteristics and the influence of discharge on Bluehead Sucker and Flannelmouth Sucker
Series title:
Copeia
DOI:
10.1643/CE-16-554
Volume:
105
Issue:
2
Year Published:
2017
Language:
English
Publisher:
The American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists
Contributing office(s):
Coop Res Unit Seattle
Description:
14 p.
First page:
375
Last page:
388
Country:
United States
State:
Utah
Other Geospatial:
Green River, Strawberry River, White River