Apr 28, 2020

Spring-fed streams as flow refugia: Changes in fish assemblages after a rainfall event

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Masaru SakaiG. Hoshi

Abstract

Understanding the structure and function of flow refugia in river networks is critical to freshwater conservation in the context of anthropogenic changes in flow regimes. Safety concerns associated with field data collection during floods have largely hindered advances in assessing flow refugia for fishes; however, spring-fed streams can be safely surveyed during rainfall events owing to their stable flow regimes. In this study, we assessed temporal changes in fish assemblages in a lowland, spring-fed tributary in northern Japan after a 48.5 mm rainfall event. A total of seven fish species were collected, and responses to the flood varied among species. Abundance of salmonids (Oncorhynchus keta and O. masou masou) increased immediately after rainfall but subsequently decreased. Collections of O. keta consisted entirely of mature individuals, while O. masou masou collections included only juveniles, suggesting that the former uses the tributary for spawning whereas O. masou masou may evacuate into the tributary during rainfall events. Benthic species (Cottus hangiongensis and Gymnogobius opperiens) were only observed in the main stream under ordinary flow conditions, and did not appear in the tributary during the flood, suggesti...Continue Reading

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