Fish assemblages in subtropical rivers: low-flow hydrology dominates hydro-ecological relationships
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Effective environmental flow management depends on identification of ecologically-relevant flow attributes to maintain or restore flows in the context of other natural and human influences on stream ecosystems. This study in subtropical eastern Australia identified associations of fish with climatic and flow gradients, catchment topography, reach geology, habitat structure and land use across 20 catchments. Land-use patterns and associated stressors accounted for very little variation in fish assemblage structure. Of the 35 fish species analysed, 24 were strongly associated with gradients in mean daily flows and their variability, baseflow, number of zero-flow days and high-flow pulses, magnitude of the 1-year annual return interval flood and the constancy and predictability of monthly flows. The finding that 22 species (benthic and pelagic) were associated with gradients of antecedent low-flow hydrology indicates that these species (or functional trait groups) should be the focus of further analysis to explore hydro-ecological relationships in systems with regulated flow regimes.
Hydrological Sciences Journal
© 2014 Taylor & Francis. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Hydrological Sciences Journal on 17 Mar 2014, available online: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/10.1080/02626667.2013.844345
Ecological Applications not elsewhere classified