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Wednesday, January 27 • 11:40am - 12:00pm
Developing A Rapid Assessment Protocol To Monitor Fish In Missouri Wetlands

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AUTHORS: Julia Guyton*, Missouri Cooperative Research Unit, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife; Lisa Webb, U.S. Geological Service, Missouri Cooperative Research Unit, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife; Craig Paukert, U.S.Geological Service, Missouri Cooperative Research Unit, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife; Frank Nelson, Missouri Department of Conservation, Big Rivers/Wetlands Field Station

ABSTRACT: Historically, the primary focus of Missouri’s public wetlands has been to provide habitat for migratory waterfowl. While the basic assumption is that these wetlands are also used by other wetland-dependent taxa, such as fish, this hypothesis is not regularly evaluated. The ability to identify and monitor the full suite of taxa using wetland areas would be insightful to comprehensively manage these unique habitats. Our goal is to develop a standardized rapid assessment protocol to efficiently determine fish species presence and richness in Missouri wetlands. We are evaluating the efficiency and effectiveness of four sampling methods including two passive methods (mini-fyke nets and minnow traps) and two active methods (dipnets and seines). We sampled 24 wetlands in three Missouri ecoregions during spring and summer 2015. We collected over 120,000 individual fish comprised of 52 fish species, including 6 Missouri Species of Conservation Concern (SOCC). Our results suggest that mini-fyke nets caught the greatest number of individuals and the most species but were also the most time consuming method. Mini-fyke nets caught all 6 of the SOCC, including one species not caught by any other gear, while minnow traps, dipnets, and seines each caught 3 of the 6 SOCC. Although the objective of this study is to evaluate gear efficiency, results have hinted at the productive and diverse aquatic communities that are using Missouri’s publicly managed wetlands. This research is the first step in identifying the means to efficiently and effectively quantify the species richness of the less visible taxonomic communities using wetlands, which in turn, can lead to more informed management decisions benefiting these wetland systems as a whole.

Wednesday January 27, 2016 11:40am - 12:00pm EST
Gerald Ford

Attendees (6)