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SFS Annual Meeting

Poster Details

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Mean annual precipitation is expected to change in regions across the globe throughout the next century. In the American Southwest, conditions are expected to become more arid. Using a space-for-time approach, we predict fish composition shifts in responses to altered precipitation regimes based on existing patterns in streams spanning sub-humid to semi-arid climates along the Texas Coastal Prairie. In the Fall of 2016, we conducted surveys of 5 USGS gauged, wadeable streams spanning the central precipitation gradient; we measured stream metabolism, nutrients, water chemistry, habitat characteristics, benthic invertebrates, and fish community composition data. These sites plus 8 additional gauged streams were re-surveyed in Spring of 2017. The data were analyzed for existing correlations between environmental factors and the biodiversity and composition of fish and macroinvertebrate communities. Precipitation-mediated effects, flow regime, evapotranspiration, and land-usage were significantly correlated with fish and macroinvertebrate community structure. The compositional changes of fish and invertebrate communities along the gradient occur non-linearly, suggesting a climate threshold for these communities. The results indicate that small future changes in precipitation regime in this region may result in abrupt conversion to new community states.

Fernando Carvallo (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi, ;

Christopher Patrick (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Texas A&M University–Corpus Ch,;

Sean Kinard (Primary Presenter/Author), Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi,;