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Effects of water-level fluctuations on the environmental characteristics and fish-environment relationships in the littoral zone of a reservoir

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Water-level fluctuations are a major function of reservoirs that influence the littoral zone of the lake, and prove to be of high importance for the whole biological communities of lakes. Working on a French hydropower reservoir, we studied the influence of water-level fluctuations on intra-annual variations of littoral habitat availability and their consequences for the structure of fish assemblages inhabiting the littoral zone. As the water level decreased significantly, habitat conditions tended to be much more homogeneous. The proportion of sites with a thin substrate and low slope increased, while submerged vegetation and riparian shade disappeared. The relationship between habitat complexity and fish assemblage changed along the water-level gradient. The habitat effect on assemblage structure was strongest when the water-level conditions were high and very high, and weaker for low and very low water-level conditions. A homogenization of fish assemblages was observed when the water-level condition reached a threshold. These results suggest an effect of water-level management in structuring fish assemblages of the littoral zone of a reservoir due to a decrease of habitat complexity.
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Keywords: FISH; HABITAT; LITTORAL ZONE; RESERVOIR; WATER-LEVEL FLUCTUATIONS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 December 2016

This article was made available online on 18 November 2016 as a Fast Track article with title: "Effects of water-level fluctuations on the environmental characteristics and fish-environment relationships in the littoral zone of a reservoir".

More about this publication?
  • Fundamental and Applied Limnology is an international journal for freshwater research in the widest sense, including problems of marine biology and brackish water research. Papers dealing with ecological topics are especially welcome in association with experimental or physiological studies. All papers published in this journal are subject to peer review.

    Archiv für Hydrobiologie, now Fundamental and Applied Limnology has been published continuously since 1906.

    Volumes prior to vol. 168 were published under the previous title Archiv für Hydrobiologie.
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