Evaluation of the influence of thermal and hydrologic regime on native fish communities in the upper Chattahoochee River
Craven, Scott Wesley
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Modifications to the hydrologic and thermal (hydrothermal) regimes in regulated rivers can negatively affect native streamfish reproduction and persistence. Using hierarchical linear modeling, I evaluated the relative support for models representing hypothesized influences of streamflow and fish life history characteristics on recruitment of young-of-year fishes using existing datasets from three warmwater rivers. Using these results, I constructed decision models that predicted how native fishes are affected by flow regulation in the upper Chattahoochee River, GA according to species-specific life-history traits. I found that short-term maximum discharge during spawning periods and short-term variation in discharge during rearing periods had an influence on young-of-year recruitment. I also found that life history characteristics affected recruitment success and modified the influence of discharge characteristics. These findings suggest that that environmental variability can have a substantial effect on the success on native fishes.