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Flow alteration-ecology relationships in Ozark Highland streams: consequences for fish, crayfish and macroinvertebrate assemblages

Flow alteration-ecology relationships in Ozark Highland streams: consequences for fish, crayfish and macroinvertebrate assemblages
Flow alteration-ecology relationships in Ozark Highland streams: consequences for fish, crayfish and macroinvertebrate assemblages

We examined flow alteration-ecology relationships in benthic macroinvertebrate, fish, and crayfish assemblages in Ozark Highland streams, USA, over two years with contrasting environmental conditions, a drought year (2012) and a flood year (2013). We hypothesized that: 1) there would be temporal variation in flow alteration-ecology relationships between the two years, 2) flow alteration-ecology relationships would be stronger during the drought year vs the flood year, and 3) fish assemblages would show the strongest relationships with flow alteration. We used a quantitative richest-targeted habitat (RTH) method and a qualitative multi-habitat (QMH) method to collect macroinvertebrates at 16 USGS gaged sites during both years. We used backpack electrofishing to sample fish and crayfish at 17 sites in 2012 and 11 sites in 2013. We used redundancy analysis to relate biological response metrics, including richness, diversity, density, and community-based metrics, to flow alteration. We found temporal variation in flow alteration-ecology relationships for all taxa, and that relationships differed greatly between assemblages. We found relationships were stronger for macroinvertebrates during the drought year but not for other assemblages, and that fish assemblage relationships were not stronger than the invertebrate taxa. Magnitude of average flow, frequency of high flow, magnitude of high flow, and duration of high flow were the most important categories of flow alteration metrics across taxa. Alteration of high and average flows was more important than alteration of low flows. Of 32 important flow alteration metrics across years and assemblages, 19 were significantly altered relative to expected values. Ecological responses differed substantially between drought and flood years, and this is likely to be exacerbated with predicted climate change scenarios. Differences in flow alteration-ecology relationships among taxonomic groups and temporal variation in relationships illustrate that a complex suite of variables should be considered for effective conservation of stream communities related to flow alteration.

Crayfish, Environmental flows, Fish, Flow alteration, Hydrology, Macroinvertebrates
0048-9697
680-697
Lynch, Dustin T.
871c1db4-3adc-4541-be8a-6df4814d86b6
Leasure, Douglas R.
c025de11-3c61-45b0-9b19-68d1d37959cd
Magoulick, Daniel D.
7b391e06-a56e-49ab-a30c-5bd96c9927f6
Lynch, Dustin T.
871c1db4-3adc-4541-be8a-6df4814d86b6
Leasure, Douglas R.
c025de11-3c61-45b0-9b19-68d1d37959cd
Magoulick, Daniel D.
7b391e06-a56e-49ab-a30c-5bd96c9927f6

Lynch, Dustin T., Leasure, Douglas R. and Magoulick, Daniel D. (2019) Flow alteration-ecology relationships in Ozark Highland streams: consequences for fish, crayfish and macroinvertebrate assemblages. Science of the Total Environment, 672, 680-697. (doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.03.383).

Record type: Article

Abstract

We examined flow alteration-ecology relationships in benthic macroinvertebrate, fish, and crayfish assemblages in Ozark Highland streams, USA, over two years with contrasting environmental conditions, a drought year (2012) and a flood year (2013). We hypothesized that: 1) there would be temporal variation in flow alteration-ecology relationships between the two years, 2) flow alteration-ecology relationships would be stronger during the drought year vs the flood year, and 3) fish assemblages would show the strongest relationships with flow alteration. We used a quantitative richest-targeted habitat (RTH) method and a qualitative multi-habitat (QMH) method to collect macroinvertebrates at 16 USGS gaged sites during both years. We used backpack electrofishing to sample fish and crayfish at 17 sites in 2012 and 11 sites in 2013. We used redundancy analysis to relate biological response metrics, including richness, diversity, density, and community-based metrics, to flow alteration. We found temporal variation in flow alteration-ecology relationships for all taxa, and that relationships differed greatly between assemblages. We found relationships were stronger for macroinvertebrates during the drought year but not for other assemblages, and that fish assemblage relationships were not stronger than the invertebrate taxa. Magnitude of average flow, frequency of high flow, magnitude of high flow, and duration of high flow were the most important categories of flow alteration metrics across taxa. Alteration of high and average flows was more important than alteration of low flows. Of 32 important flow alteration metrics across years and assemblages, 19 were significantly altered relative to expected values. Ecological responses differed substantially between drought and flood years, and this is likely to be exacerbated with predicted climate change scenarios. Differences in flow alteration-ecology relationships among taxonomic groups and temporal variation in relationships illustrate that a complex suite of variables should be considered for effective conservation of stream communities related to flow alteration.

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19.03.14_IP_099065_Final_for_BAO_Approved_by_BAO_b - Accepted Manuscript
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 24 March 2019
e-pub ahead of print date: 28 March 2019
Published date: 1 July 2019
Keywords: Crayfish, Environmental flows, Fish, Flow alteration, Hydrology, Macroinvertebrates

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 432660
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/432660
ISSN: 0048-9697
PURE UUID: 718dc201-a934-4f23-9887-aa320f56362b

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Date deposited: 23 Jul 2019 16:30
Last modified: 07 Oct 2020 06:39

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