Influence of multi-scale factors on sportfish structural indices in small- to medium-sized impoundments in Georgia, U.S.
Trushel, Brittany Elaine
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Fisheries managers strive to provide quality fishing and sustainable harvest to the fishing public. Biologists may manage waterbodies similarly, but fish communities within these waterbodies can differ across relatively close locations, which can create uncertainty as to appropriate management practices and result in suboptimal use of agency resources. Incorporating effects of multi-scale factors on sportfish biomass would allow managers to better understand the systems they manage. I examined 26 impoundments located within the Georgia Public Fishing Area (PFA) system to determine how the sportfish communities differ. I collected local-, landscape-level, and sportfish data from PFA impoundments. I used cluster analysis to classify impoundments based on physical characters, discriminant function analysis to examine which factors drove groupings, and one-way analysis of variance to relate sportfish stocks to groupings. I found species-specific effects of physical factors, with impoundment age, size, land cover within watershed, macroinvertebrate biomass, and geographic location affecting sportfish stocks.