Normalized abundance spectra of fish community reflect hydro-peaking on a Mediterranean large river
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The European Water Framework Directive requires the integration of body size characters as an important part of fish-based bioassessment tools for freshwaters ecological status determination. The study of the entire fish community size-structure provides valuable information about food web capacity, food web stability and ecological efficiency of aquatic ecosystems. One of the most used representations of community size structure is the Normalized Abundance Spectra (NAS) that provides an approximation of the total fish abundance and food web capacity (through the parameter y-intercept) and an estimation of food web efficiency (through the slope of the linear regression). In this study we explored NAS of the lower Ebro River fish community by integrating data from monthly electrofishing samplings during a whole year (November 2014- October 2015). We found that the percentage of total alien and alien-prey individuals were directly related with y-intercept and inversely related with slope of NAS. This is because the bulk of the community consists of introduced species of small body length. Furthermore, we detected significant relationships between NAS-related parameters and the hydrological variables describing diel flow oscillations and daily flow variability. Based on this, we suggest that high flow variability conditions and, above all, high hydro-peaking conditions, caused a diminution of the total abundance of fish and a decrease of the proportion of small sized fish (i.e. lower y-intercept and flatter slopes of NAS, respectively). Finally, a significant interaction between hydro-peaking and the percentage of alien-predators suggests that high hydro-peaking conditions benefit predation by facilitating predator-prey encounters. This is reflected by strong linear relationship between NAS parameters and percentage of piscivorous at high hydropeaking conditions that disappears at low hydro-peaking fluctuations. We concluded that the high proportion of alien fishes and the presence of a hydropower generation plant that operates by hydro-peaking are important factors determining fish size structure in the lower Ebro River.
574 - Ecologia general i biodiversitat
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Vila-Martínez, Núria, Nuno Caiola, Carles Ibáñez, Lluis Benejam, and Sandra Brucet. 2019. "Normalized Abundance Spectra Of Fish Community Reflect Hydro-Peaking On A Mediterranean Large River". Ecological Indicators 97: 280-289. Elsevier BV. doi:10.1016/j.ecolind.2018.10.014.
Agrosistemes i Medi Ambient
Aigües Marines i Continentals
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