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Monday, January 28 • 2:20pm - 2:40pm
(FISHERIES: RIVERS & STREAMS) Recovery of Riverine Fish Assemblages After Anthropogenic Disturbances

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AUTHORS: Jessica M. Rohr, Eastern Illinois University; Scott J. Meiners, Eastern Illinois University; Trent Thomas, Illinois Department of Natural Resources; Robert E. Colombo, Eastern Illinois University

ABSTRACT: Disturbances among communities are common, but the response of fish assemblages to anthropogenic fish kills is rarely investigated. To determine how rapidly, or if recovery occurs without further mitigation, complete quantification of the fish recovery process is necessitated. We evaluated the recovery of six creeks located in central Illinois, including an undisturbed control system. Pre-kill data was available for all locations, and post-kill data was available within two to six months following the perturbation. Data analysis included pre- and post-kill comparisons of species richness, catch per unit effort (CPUE), and index of biotic integrity (IBI) and non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMS) to visually compare compositional shifts. We found that richness and IBI experienced dramatic shifts within the first year after the kill, while CPUE remained relatively consistent among sampling events. Interestingly, extinction was not limited to only rare species. There were also multiple colonizations of new species that were not present prior to the perturbation. NMS revealed that some creeks experienced little compositional shift similar to that of the control system while other creeks are still experiencing large shifts. Lastly, the rate of compositional change decreased significantly over time among all locations, especially within the first year. Richness and IBI have clearly recovered from the disturbance and continue to exceed the original pre-kill values; however, assemblages in some locations have shifted into a different community structure and are continuing to change. Our results make recovery among these systems difficult to assess calling into question the predictability of the system’s response. Further functional analysis of these systems, including fish length distribution, may help to alleviate some of these discrepancies.

Monday January 28, 2019 2:20pm - 2:40pm

Attendees (6)