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Tuesday, January 26 • 3:20pm - 3:40pm
Factors Driving Fish Assemblages In A Restored Stream

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AUTHORS: Carl A. Favata*, Eastern Illinois University; Robert E. Colombo, Eastern Illinois University; Donald P. Roseboom, United States Geological Survey; Timothy D. Straub, United States Geological Survey; Anabela Maia, Eastern Illinois University

ABSTRACT: Human-influenced habitat degradation has greatly impacted Midwestern stream ecosystems affecting fauna at the community and organismal levels, yet comprehensive assessments of these impacts remain infrequent. Recent restoration efforts in an Illinois agricultural stream have provided insight into the complex dynamics within a perturbed system. Our research examined the temporal and spatial relationships between habitat restoration and ecomorphology of fish assemblages in Kickapoo Creek located in East-Central Illinois. We monitored habitat integrity and fish communities annually in four 200 m reaches using single-pass pulsed DC barge electrofishing. Nonmetric multidimensional scaling of assemblage data showed distinct temporal trends, with dissimilarity increasing over time. Restored communities varied significantly from reference communities and displayed temporal increases in evenness, diversity, and abundance of Centrarchidae, Catostomidae, and Ictaluridae species. Permutational regression analyses significantly linked community dissimilarity with six driving habitat parameters: proportion of cobble, gravel, and silt substrate, boulders, submerged logs, and riffle area. Significant multiple regression analyses on species abundances supported our multivariate models and confirmed fish were most susceptible to changes in substrate composition. Correlations between substrate and velocity profiles within Kickapoo Creek led to the identification of possible physiological factors driving fish distribution. Additionally, we modeled the effects of flow alteration on metabolic oxygen consumption of longear sunfish Lepomis megalotis steady swimming in quasi-laminar and turbulent flow regimes. Ecomorphology of longear sunfish suggests that increased metabolic demands associated with navigating complex flow regimes may limit distribution and could affect habitat use and behavior. Habitat degradation is often characterized by losses of quality substrate due to sedimentation, and current models may help explain resulting shifts in faunal communities. Stream restoration practices geared towards improving hydrologic function and geomorphic stability may help mitigate losses.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 3:20pm - 3:40pm EST
Gerald Ford