Macroecological Variations in Stream Community Fish Production Across the Appalachian Mountains: Implications for Climate Change
Myers, Bonnie J. Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation, Virginia Tech, 149 Cheatham Hall, Blacksburg, VA 24061; 307-399-1693;
Dolloff, C. Andrew. USFS Southern Research Station, Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation, Virginia Tech, 1710 Research Center Drive, Blacksburg, VA 24060; 540-230-8220;
Webster, Jackson R. Department of Biological Sciences, Virginia Tech, 1000 Derring Hall, Blacksburg, VA 2401; 540-231-8941;
Rypel, Andrew L. Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation, Virginia Tech, 100 Cheatham Hall, Blacksburg, VA 24061; 205-886-9916
Presenter: Bonnie Myers
Climate change is considered one of the more pervasive threats to freshwater fisheries and ecosystems. However, little is known on how species and assemblages will respond to large-scale abiotic change. We collected data to estimate secondary production of entire fish assemblages in 25 Appalachian streams spanning from Vermont to North Carolina and seek to relate these values to a network of stream and air temperature data. We found significant positive Pearson’s correlations between fish community biomass and species richness (r=0.70, p<0.01), Simpson’s Diversity Index (r=0.55, p=0.01), maximum air temperature (r=0.46, p=0.04) and standard deviation of mean air temperature (r=0.47, p=0.04). Preliminary fish community production estimates ranged from 1.8 g/m2/year to 5.8 g/m2/year, which is comparable to three published estimates from one Appalachian stream. We are also exploring the use of rank-abundance, rank-biomass, and rank-production curves (i.e., Whittaker curves) as an innovative tool for quantifying differences in species dominance and evenness, and as an origin for new dependent variables to relate with climate. Ultimately, results from this study will provide a rare opportunity to assess the role of temperature on community-level responses to climate change, as well as provide insights into variations in the structure and function of montane streams.
Student Presenter: Yes