A Vulnerability Assessment for Missouri Stream Fish Species: Development and Evaluation

Monday, September 9, 2013
Governor's Hall I (trade show) (Statehouse Convention Center)
Nicholas Sievert , Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences, Missouri Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit, Columbia, MO
Craig P. Paukert , Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences, U.S. Geological Survey Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Columbia, MO
Species vulnerability to climate and land use change may need to be considered for long-term biodiversity conservation.  Our objectives were to 1) develop two indices which evaluate stream fish species vulnerability to climate and land use change, 2) determine whether these indices achieved similar results, 3) determine if there was a relationship between listing status and vulnerability score, and 4) detect any patterns regarding the distribution of vulnerable species statewide.  We developed two indices to assess vulnerability for each stream fish species using separate criteria (one based on fish traits; the other based on measured responses to threats) and found they were somewhat related (r2=0.50).  According to the trait association index 76% of species are vulnerable, while 65% of species are vulnerable based on the species response index.  State and federally-listed species scored higher than unlisted species for both indices (Ps<0.01).  The number of vulnerable species per site was highest in the Ozark subregion compared to the Bootheel and Plains (Ps<0.01).  Our results serve as a foundation for conducting vulnerability assessments of stream fish species.  Information regarding species specific vulnerability to these threats and the distribution of these vulnerable species may be used to guide conservation prioritization.