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SFS Annual Meeting

Thursday, June 6, 2024
13:30 - 15:00

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C06 Large River Ecology

13:30 - 13:45 | Freedom Ballroom E | SPAWNING AND EARLY ECOLOGY OF RIVERINE BLACK BASS, MICROPTERUS SPP., ACROSS A DIVERSE AND COMPLEX WATERSHED

6/06/2024  |   13:30 - 13:45   |  Freedom Ballroom E

Spawning and early ecology of riverine black bass, Micropterus spp., across a diverse and complex watershed Understanding fish movements, habitat associations, and early life history requirements is important for managing populations because they reflect changing resource needs throughout the life cycle. This is especially true for narrow-range endemic species where ecological knowledge is often lacking. Moreover, efforts to understand more broadly distributed species, such as Largemouth Bass Micropterus salmoides, have been mostly focused on reservoir or lake populations. Thus, our study objectives were to determine seasonal movement patterns, habitat selection, and factors related to early life history success of endemic Shoal Bass, M. cataractae, and native Largemouth Bass in the lower Flint River basin. We tracked adult black bass using radio telemetry and collected age-0 bass otoliths for hatch date analysis between March 2022 and August 2023. Preliminary results indicate that adult riverine Shoal Bass and Largemouth Bass had overlapping but distinct habitat associations and movement patterns, with both populations using a significant portion of the available river corridor. Additionally, it appears that Largemouth Bass successfully spawned throughout a larger portion of the catchment than Shoal Bass. Overall, both our age-0 and telemetry study revealed decreased population connectivity and hatch success as potential effects of upstream dam operations. Finally, seasonal patterns in movement and hatch timing were similar across years indicating the presence of important environmental cues and spawning areas for these species. Knowledge of riverine black bass ecology over multiple seasons will provide information useful to agencies concerned about connectivity requirements, effects of dam operations, and important spawning locations for these populations.

Jamie Rogers (Primary Presenter/Author), The Jones Center at Ichauway, jamie.rogers@jonesctr.org;

Shannon Brewer (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), U.S. Geological Survey, shannon.brewer@okstate.edu;

Stephen Golladay (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Georgia Water Planning and Policy Center at ASU, steve.golladay@jonesctr.org;

13:45 - 14:00 | Freedom Ballroom E | SPATIALLY INTENSIVE FISH INVENTORIES CONDUCTED 70 YEARS APART REVEAL STRONG SPATIAL FOOTPRINTS OF RESERVOIRS IN A REGULATED TEMPERATE RIVER

6/06/2024  |   13:45 - 14:00   |  Freedom Ballroom E

Spatially intensive fish inventories conducted 70 years apart reveal strong spatial footprints of reservoirs in a regulated temperate river River regulation and fragmentation affect flowing water ecosystems on a global scale, but there is rising interest in managing these alterations to benefit biodiversity and ecosystem goods and services provided to humans. A critical first step in developing management plans is estimation of historical ecological states and subsequent deviations from these states. In this study, we repeated an historical, spatially intensive fish survey conducted 70 years ago (1954-1955) in the Sabine River of Texas to assess spatiotemporal change in the fish fauna. We used the same sampling gears and visited the same locations as the previous survey, but excluded sites that are now inundated by reservoirs that did not yet exist during the historical survey. Non-metric multi-dimensional scaling plots revealed a temporally persistent (i.e., present during both periods) longitudinal gradient in fish assemblage composition, but the pattern was weaker in the second survey because sites closest to impoundments had the most altered fish assemblages. The species that contributed most to temporal change included decline of small-bodied minnows but increases by basses, sunfishes, and shads. When we divided the riverscape into three segments, the segments nearest to the upstream and downstream reservoirs showed significant declines in species richness, while the middle segment most distant from a reservoir showed no change. This work provides guidance on conservation and management of regulated rivers by delineating the spatial footprints of reservoirs and identifying the fish species most affected by this globally pervasive form of environmental change.

Johnathan Ellard (Primary Presenter/Author), Texas A&M University, jellard@tamu.edu;

Rebecca Mangold (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Texas A&M University, rebecca.mangold@tamu.edu;

Anastasia Umstott (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Stephen F. Austin University, simpsonam1@jack.sfasu.edu;

Kole Kubicek (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Lamar University, kkubicek2@lamar.edu;

Kevin Conway (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Texas A&M University, kevin.conway@tamu.edu;

Carmen Montaña (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Stephen F. Austin University, montanascg@sfasu.edu;

Joshuah Perkin (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Texas A&M University , jperkin@tamu.edu;

14:00 - 14:15 | Freedom Ballroom E | EXORCISING THE GHOSTS OF RIVERSCAPE PAST: HISTORICAL ALTERATIONS TO A RIVERINE LANDSCAPE SHAPE CONTEMPORARY FISH ASSEMBLAGES AND GUIDE FUTURE RESTORATION ACTION

6/06/2024  |   14:00 - 14:15   |  Freedom Ballroom E

Exorcising the Ghosts of Riverscape Past: Historical Alterations to a Riverine Landscape Shape Contemporary Fish Assemblages and Guide Future Restoration Action River regulation and fragmentation caused by dam construction are primary threats to large river fish assemblages on a global scale. However, there is increased interest in restoration of riverine ecosystems through flow regime management that mimics natural flow regimes. Long-term ecological perspectives considering historical, pre-regulated conditions and contemporary, post-regulation conditions provide valuable insight for guiding restoration decisions. In this study, we investigate stream fish assemblage change over a 67-year period (1956 versus 2023) in the Neches River Basin of Texas. We resampled 26 sites from a historical assemblage survey conducted on the Neches River, Angelina River, and Pine Island Bayou. We used transformed abundance data, Bray-Curtis dissimilarity, and non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMDS) to quantify shifts in fish assemblage structure. The NMDS revealed truncated spatial variation through time along NMDS1 (i.e., spatial homogenization) and a distinct temporal shift in assemblage structure along NMDS2. When we mapped site-species change through time, we found the greatest levels of change occurred primarily near three reservoirs that were constructed between 1956 and 2023, while there was relatively little change at sites with greater distances from reservoirs. The majority of assemblage change was driven by species additions, not losses, including increased prevalence of fishes that typically inhabit reservoirs (bass, sunfish) or tributary streams (minnows). Our results help inform flow management by establishing historical baseline conditions, revealing the locations and fish species that have contributed to long-term shifts, and highlighting the potential for restoration (e.g., through natural flow regime mimicry) given limited loss of rare, riverine fishes.

Rebecca Mangold (Primary Presenter/Author), Texas A&M University, rebecca.mangold@tamu.edu;

Johnathan Ellard (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Texas A&M University, jellard@tamu.edu;

Anastasia Umstott (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Stephen F. Austin University, simpsonam1@jack.sfasu.edu;

Kole Kubicek (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Lamar University, kkubicek2@lamar.edu;

Kevin Conway (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Texas A&M University, kevin.conway@tamu.edu;

Carmen Montaña (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Stephen F. Austin University, montanascg@sfasu.edu;

Joshuah Perkin (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Texas A&M University , jperkin@tamu.edu;

14:15 - 14:30 | Freedom Ballroom E | DATA-DRIVEN MONITORING AND MANAGEMENT OF THE BIGHEADED CARP INVASION IN THE ILLINOIS RIVER

6/06/2024  |   14:15 - 14:30   |  Freedom Ballroom E

DATA-DRIVEN MONITORING AND MANAGEMENT OF THE BIGHEADED CARP INVASION IN THE ILLINOIS RIVER Biological invasions in large rivers present unique monitoring and management challenges. Dams act as barriers (sometimes), tributaries serve as refugia, and flashy hydrology complicates our spatial and temporal understanding of the recruitment and spread of invaders through river systems. The consequences of mismanagement can be ecologically and economically costly. Along the Illinois River — the ecological doorstep of the Great Lakes — managers and scientists are mounting a last-stand to halt the invasion front of invasive bigheaded carp species. Though the foodweb of the river may be forever changed by these jumpy, ravenous invaders, hope remains to limit impacts in Lake Michigan and beyond. Limited management resources present trade-offs between capture/removal of fish at the leading edge and from source populations, monitoring of population dynamics for measuring removal efforts’ success, and studying more broadly the ecological controls and impacts of these notoriously invasive fishes. We present fisheries-dependent and fisheries-independent data from recent multi-agency efforts to better understand the invasion. Expected relationships arise (harvest hyperstability, intraspecific density dependency, and interspecific competition) but unexpected exceptions may hold important insights for the future monitoring and management of this critical invasive species containment zone.

Michael Spear (Primary Presenter/Author), Illinois River Biological Station, University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign, spear.michael.j@gmail.com;

Jim Lamer (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Illinois River Biological Station, University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign, Lamer@illinois.edu;

14:30 - 14:45 | Freedom Ballroom E | A MODELING APPROACH FOR UNDERSTANDING HOST-PARASITE INTERACTIONS UNDER DIFFERENT ENVIRONMENTAL CONTEXTS

6/06/2024  |   14:30 - 14:45   |  Freedom Ballroom E

A modeling approach for understanding host-parasite interactions under different environmental contexts Infectious diseases caused by parasites that have life cycles involving multiple hosts are often poorly understood. Models can be useful tools for improving our understanding of such complex systems. Salmonid population declines in the Klamath River, CA have been attributed to the parasite Ceratonova shasta (myxozoan), which requires a freshwater annelid (Manayunkia speciosa, obligate host) to complete its life cycle. Flow manipulation can be used to mitigate the effects of disease on salmon by reducing annelid host abundance. However, water is a limited and contentious resource, so evaluating the efficacy of actions that alter water availability is not only warranted, but necessary. The aims of this study were to develop models to predict the distribution of annelid hosts and evaluate the effects of peak discharge. Two-dimensional hydraulic models (2DHMs), developed for each river section, were used to describe hydraulic variation (e.g., predict depth, velocity, shear stress) and stratify sampling locations across environmental gradients. Benthic samples collected 2012-2023 were used to build and test predictive distribution models. Our results demonstrate annelid host distribution is associated with substrate, as well as depths and velocities predicted from the 2DHMs during the previous water year’s peak discharge. Our results also demonstrate that manipulating the hydrograph influences distribution of annelid hosts. This study provides a tool that allows us to predict how annelid host distribution may respond to flow modification and evaluate the potential efficacy of proposed flow management scenarios to affect annelid hosts, and in turn, salmon disease risk.

Julie Alexander (Primary Presenter/Author), Oregon State University, alexanju@oregonstate.edu;

Jerri Bartholomew (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Oregon State University, bartholj@science.oregonstate.edu;

Taylor Daley (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), US Fish and Wildlife Service, taylor.daley@usfws.org;

Nicholas Som (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), US Fish and Wildlife Service, nicholas_som@fws.gov;

14:45 - 15:00 | Freedom Ballroom E | PATTERNS OF MACROINVERTEBRATE DIVERSITY AND COMPOSITION IN A SPATIALLY COMPLEX RIVER BASIN: TAXONOMIC AND FUNCTIONAL APPROACHES

6/06/2024  |   14:45 - 15:00   |  Freedom Ballroom E

PATTERNS OF MACROINVERTEBRATE DIVERSITY AND COMPOSITION IN A SPATIALLY COMPLEX RIVER BASIN: TAXONOMIC AND FUNCTIONAL APPROACHES Benthic macroinvertebrate (BMI) community composition and diversity respond to both environmental gradients and flow disturbance (i.e., drought or flood), but the types of responses vary depending on whether ecologists use taxonomic or trait-based approaches for analyses. Despite this previous work, substantial gaps still exist in understanding how BMI communities respond across broad spatial, environmental, and hydrological variation gradients. In this study, we examined the relative importance of different environmental drivers and spatial structuring processes that influence the BMI community at multiple spatial scales within the Colorado River basin in Texas, USA using both taxonomic and trait-based approaches. Using a dataset of 102 spatially nested riffle sites across the basin, we sampled BMIs, physicochemical parameters, nutrients, habitat features, land usage and land cover (LULC), and other landscape parameters. Species were identified down to the family level and standardized (i.e., Hellinger transformed). At the largest spatial scale, land cover types were relatively important predictors of BMI community composition (approximately 13% of the variation explained), but smaller-scale local factors (e.g., water quality, algal cover, and local geomorphological characteristics) explained more (21.9%) of the variation in BMI community composition. Overall, we found that BMI community compositional changes among sites were largely driven by watershed area and land use patterns, but the diversity of BMI communities among sites was more influenced by site-specific variation in nutrients, water quality, and habitat conditions.

Miranda Sams (Primary Presenter/Author), Texas State University, mdsams@txstate.edu;

Mariana Perez Rocha (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Texas State University, mperezrocha@txstate.edu;

Benjamin Schwartz (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Department of Biology, Texas State University, San Marcos, Tx., bs37@txstate.edu;

Richard Johansen (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), US Army Engineer Research and Development Center, richard.a.johansen@erdc.dren.mil;

Weston Nowlin (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Texas State University, wnowlin@txstate.edu;