DROUGHT EFFECTS ON ECOLOGICAL ENDPOINT CURVES IN A BIODIVERSITY HOTSPOT
Regional geomorphic and ecological endpoint curves are valuable tools for effective stream restoration. In 2013 these tools were developed for the Piedmont of Alabama and in 2015 for the Appalachian Plateau of north Alabama, both of which are situated within the Mobile River Basin which harbors some of the richest freshwater diversity in the world. In 2016, this region was under one of the most extreme droughts in the last 10 years. How aquatic organisms respond to droughts and how natural disturbances influence restoration tools has been unclear. Our objective was to determine local community compositional shifts in response to drought and evaluate the effect of disturbance on ecological endpoint curves. In Summer 2017, fish and crayfish were collected post-drought within representative reaches of 18 Piedmont and 17 Appalachian streams ranging from 0.05–261 km2 drainage area using a Smith-Root LR-24 backpack electrofisher. Data suggest that fish assemblage structure and ecological endpoint curves were not different post-drought, although maximum catch per unit effort was lower in 2017. These preliminary findings suggest that fish were minimally influenced by drought and that regional ecological endpoint curves are robust to such disturbances.
Eric Bauer (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Auburn University, firstname.lastname@example.org;
David Werneke (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Auburn University, email@example.com;
Jon Armbruster (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Auburn University, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Brian Helms (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Troy University, email@example.com;
Corinthia Black (Primary Presenter/Author), Auburn University, firstname.lastname@example.org;