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Wednesday, January 27 • 10:40am - 11:00am
Vulnerability of Stream Communities Within The National Park Services’ Heartland Inventory and Monitoring Network

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AUTHORS: Jacob Schwoerer*, Missouri Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit; Craig Paukert,U.S. Geological Survey Missouri Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit; Hope Dodd, National Park Service Heartland I&M Network

ABSTRACT: Climate and land use change are major contributors to stream degradation, although the extent that these impacts have on various regions and stream systems likely differ. Determining a stream’s susceptibility to change from anthropogenic impacts is necessary to determine the stream communities most likely to experience a decrease in diversity, abundance, and function. Vulnerability assessments are tools used to depict a representative risk value for a faunal group, species, or habitat. To be effective, these vulnerability assessments link species specific life history traits to increased risk of extirpation or extinction so that an accurate portrayal of risk may provide managers with a starting point for conservation efforts. Our goal was to determine the vulnerability of fish and aquatic invertebrate communities to land use and climate change. Fish and invertebrate sampling was conducted from 1988 to 2013 at 88 sites throughout seven National Park Service units in the central United States. A trait-based approach was used for each faunal group (fish and invertebrates), and allowed us to determine overall community vulnerability, and factors driving a stream’s vulnerability (temperature, flow, habitat degradation, dispersal ability, or species persistence through time). Invertebrate communities at each of the parks were most vulnerable to an altered flow regime (mean among parks: 81% ± 6% of the community vulnerable) while the fish community was most vulnerable to in stream physical habitat alteration (mean among parks: 53% ± 15% of the community vulnerable). The most and least vulnerable park was consistent between fish and invertebrate assessments. Homestead National Monument, a small, fine substrate, low species-rich, prairie stream was found least vulnerable, and George Washington Carver National Monument, a medium sized, coarse substrate, low species-rich Ozark stream was found most vulnerable. Our results provide a framework that resource managers can use to determine aquatic biota vulnerability throughout Midwestern streams.

Wednesday January 27, 2016 10:40am - 11:00am EST
Grandview A