Spatial and temporal trends in Potomac River fish abundance linked to species traits

Ecosphere
By: , and 

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Abstract

Analysis of species abundance trends can inform an understanding of the underlying mechanisms. We evaluated spatial and temporal trends in fish species abundance in the non-tidal Potomac River (USA) from a dataset comprising 2841 seine-hauls with > 250,000 individual fish records across 10 sites and 43 years (1975-2017). The dataset contained 47 species from 7 taxonomic families, with species richness and abundance dominated by leuciscids, centrarchids, and percids (85% and 95% of the total dataset, respectively). We used linear modeling and bootstrapping techniques to estimate spatial and temporal trends in abundance (CPUE) for 38 species, excluding the rarest taxa (< 30 individuals). Spatial trends in abundance were detected for 22 species (58%), of which 15 were more abundant downstream than upstream and 7 were more abundant upstream than downstream. Temporal trends in abundance were detected for 25 species (66%), of which 15 increased over time and 10 decreased over time. Spatial trends were associated with reproductive life history strategies: egg-attachers and viviparous fishes generally increased in a downstream direction, whereas species with other reproductive modes and relatively short spawning durations (< ~2 months) showed the opposite spatial trend. Temporal trends were associated with reproductive guilds and range area (a surrogate for environmental tolerance): egg-attachers and nest-associates generally increased in abundance over time, whereas broadcast spawners, clean-gravel spawners, and nest-guarders with relatively small range areas (< ~ 1.2 million km2) tended to decrease over time. This study provides an analysis of one of the largest systematic collections of freshwater fishes to our knowledge and provides a framework to evaluate mechanisms underlying observed trends.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Spatial and temporal trends in Potomac River fish abundance linked to species traits
Series title Ecosphere
DOI 10.1002/ecs2.3026
Volume 11
Issue 2
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher Ecological Society of America
Contributing office(s) Leetown Science Center
Description e03026, 17 p.
Country United States
Other Geospatial Potomac River