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Interactions between natural-occurring landscape conditions and land use influencing the abundance of riverine smallmouth bass, Micropterus dolomieu

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This study examined how interactions between natural landscape features and land use influenced the abundance of smallmouth bass, Micropterus dolomieu, in Missouri, USA, streams. Stream segments were placed into one of four groups based on natural-occurring watershed characteristics (soil texture and soil permeability) predicted to relate to smallmouth bass abundance. Within each group, stream segments were assigned forest (n = 3), pasture (n = 3), or urban (n = 3) designations based on the percentages of land use within each watershed. Analyses of variance indicated smallmouth bass densities differed between land use and natural conditions. Decision tree models indicated abundance was highest in forested stream segments and lowest in urban stream segments, regardless of group designation. Land use explained the most variation in decision tree models, but in-channel features of temperature, flow, and sediment also contributed significantly. These results are unique and indicate the importance of natural-occurring watershed conditions in defining the potential of populations and how finer-scale filters interact with land use to further alter population potential. Smallmouth bass has differing vulnerabilities to land-use attributes, and the better the natural watershed conditions are for population success, the more resilient these populations will be when land conversion occurs.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/f2011-110

Affiliations: US Geological Survey, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences, The School of Natural Resources, University of Missouri, 302 Anheuser-Busch Natural Resources Building, Columbia, MO 65211-7240, USA.

Publication date: November 7, 2011

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  • 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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