QUANTIFYING BIOTIC AND ABIOTIC HABITAT FEATURES TO GUIDE REPATRIATION OF SOUTHWESTERN NATIVE FISHES
Altered flow regimes, degraded habitats, and non-native species threaten native fishes worldwide; those threats are magnified in the highly endemic fish assemblages of the arid American Southwest. Spikedace (Meda fulgida) and loach minnow (Rhinichthys cobitis) are among the rarest of native fishes remaining in this region, occurring in only a handful of streams in the Gila River watershed. Translocations are integral to their conservation and have been conducted in several streams with varying degrees of success. Although general habitat preferences of these species are known, managers lack quantitative habitat metrics to help guide future translocation efforts. To address this knowledge gap, we surveyed streams to measure a suite of biotic and abiotic habitat variables hypothesized to limit spikedace and loach minnow populations. In both inhabited and potential repatriation streams lacking these species, we measured geomorphic, hydrological, macroinvertebrate, and stream productivity variables. We related these habitat variables to the abundance and composition of fish assemblages. A combination of physical habitat and production metrics were related to the presence of spikedace and loach minnow. These data will help prioritize new streams for spikedace and loach minnow repatriations.
Jack Torresdal (Primary Presenter/Author), Northern Arizona University, email@example.com;
Rebecca Fritz (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Northern Arizona University, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Jane Marks (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Northern Arizona University, email@example.com;
Benjamin Koch (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Northern Arizona University, firstname.lastname@example.org;