Effects of an extreme flash flood on the native fish assemblages across a Mediterranean catchment
The effects of an extreme flash flood on the native fish assemblages across a Mediterranean catchment in Southwest Portugal were investigated. The fish community structure and habitat were surveyed at 10 sites pre- and post-flood. Overall species richness and rank abundances changed little after the flood, despite there being a consistent decline in the abundance of small cyprinids. Pre- and post-flood habitat correlates of abundance changed for at least some species, and variability in assemblage structure was associated with flood, depth and pH. These results indicate that extreme floods occurring early in the wet season may have little disruptive effects on the overall structure of native fish assemblages in Mediterranean streams, although may at least partially influence population dynamics for some species. Habitat quality and complexity are likely to play a role in mediating species responses to flooding.