Response of a floodplain fish community to river-floodplain connectivity: natural versus managed reconnection

Stoffels, RJ; Clarke, KR; Rehwinkel, RA; McCarthy, BJ; Tonn, W. 2014 Response of a floodplain fish community to river-floodplain connectivity: natural versus managed reconnection. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 71 (2). 236-245. 10.1139/cjfas-2013-0042

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/cjfas-2013-0042

Abstract/Summary

To restore lateral connectivity in highly regulated river-floodplain systems, it has become necessary to implement localized, "managed" connection flows, made possible using floodplain irrigation infrastructure. These managed flows contrast with "natural", large-scale, overbank flood pulses. We compared the effects of a managed and a natural connection event on (i) the composition of the large-bodied fish community and (ii) the structure of an endangered catfish population of a large floodplain lake. The change in community composition following the managed connection was not greater than that exhibited between seasons or years during disconnection. By contrast, the change in fish community structure following the natural connection was much larger than that attributed to background, within-and between-year variability during disconnection. Catfish population structure only changed significantly following the natural flood. While the natural flood increased various population rates of native fishes, it also increased those of non-native carp, a pest species. To have a positive influence on native biodiversity, environmental flows may need to be delivered to floodplains in a way that simulates the properties of natural flood pulses. A challenge, however, will be managing river-floodplain connectivity to benefit native more than non-native species.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Additional Keywords: CARP CYPRINUS-CARPIO; JUVENILE CHINOOK SALMON; LOWLAND RIVER; COMMON CARP; HYDROLOGICAL CONNECTIVITY; FLOW REGIMES; NATIVE FISH; AUSTRALIA; WETLANDS; STREAM
Subjects: Ecology and Environment
Marine Sciences
Divisions: Plymouth Marine Laboratory > Science Areas > Marine Life Support Systems
Depositing User: Mrs Julia Crocker
Date made live: 14 Oct 2014 14:30
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2017 16:12
URI: http://plymsea.ac.uk/id/eprint/6259

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