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Controls on fish distribution and abundance in temporary wetlands

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Abstract:

Our main goal was to determine if fish distribution and adundance in temporary wetlands were shaped primarily by large-scale (landscape) or small-scale (local) characteristics and to investigate the influence of cattle ranching on fish assemblages. A total of 24 temporary ponds were selected at the Kissimmee Prairie Sanctuary and the Mac Arthur Agro-Ecology Research Center. Each wetland was sampled for fish using throw traps and dip nets during 1999. Landscape processes (connectivity to permanent water bodies) predominately influenced fish assemblages, although local processes (depth–hydroperiod) were also important. Furthermore, no colonizing species went locally extinct before wetlands began to dry. Our findings suggest that large-scale processes that influence colonization dynamics are of more importance than small-scale processes that influence extinction dynamics. Finally, hydrological changes (ditching) associated with agriculture (cattle ranching) have adversely affected temporary wetland fish assemblages by reducing wetland hydroperiods and connectivity.

Les objectifs principaux de notre étude sont de déterminer si les populations de poissons qui habitent les terres humides intermittentes sont affectées surtout par les facteurs à grande échelle (paysage) ou à petite échelle (milieu local) et d'analyser l'effet de l'élevage de bétail sur les communautés de poissons. Au total, 24 étangs temporaires ont été choisis dans le sanctuaire de prairie de Kissimmee et le centre de recherche agro-écologique MacArthur. Les poissons de chaque étang ont été échantillonnés à l'aide de pièges-quadrats et d'épuisettes en 1999. Les caractéristiques du paysage (contact avec des nappes d'eau permanentes) sont les facteurs qui affectent le plus les communautés de poissons, mais les facteurs locaux (profondeur–durée de l'inondation) sont aussi importants. De plus, aucune espèce colonisatrice n'est disparue localement avant que les terres humides n'aient commencé à s'assécher. Nos résultats montrent que les processus à grande échelle qui affectent la dynamique de la colonisation sont plus importants que les processus à petite échelle qui régissent la dynamique de l'extinction. Enfin, les changements hydrologiques (creusage de fossés) associés à l'agriculture (élevage de bétail) ont un effet négatif sur les communautés de poissons des terres humides intermittentes en réduisant la période d'inondation et en diminuant les contacts entre les nappes d'eau.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2002

More about this publication?
  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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