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Monday, February 6 • 1:20pm - 1:40pm
Technical Session. What Lies Beneath? Identifying the Most Efficient Method to Sample Fish and Amphibian Communities in Missouri Wetlands

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AUTHORS: Julia Guyton, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences; Elisabeth Webb, U.S. Geological Survey, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences; Craig Paukert, U.S. Geological Survey, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences; Frank Nelson, Missouri Department of Conservation, Big Rivers/Wetlands Field Station

ABSTRACT: Providing habitat for migratory waterfowl has historically been the focus of management strategies for Missouri’s public wetlands. However, wetlands are also used by other less visible taxa, such as fish and amphibians, which reside largely below the water’s surface. Being able to identify and monitor the full suite of taxa using wetland areas would be insightful to comprehensively manage these unique habitats. Our goal was to develop a standardized rapid assessment protocol to efficiently determine fish and amphibian species presence and richness in Missouri wetlands. We evaluated the efficiency and effectiveness of four sampling methods including two passive methods (mini-fyke nets and minnow traps) and two active methods (dipnets and seines). We sampled 30 wetlands in three Missouri ecoregions during spring and summer 2015 and 2016 and collected over 200,000 individual fish and amphibians comprised of 55 fish and 15 amphibian species, including 5 Missouri Species of Conservation Concern (SOCC). Our results suggest that mini-fyke nets caught the greatest number of individual fish and amphibians, and were the most efficient method for detecting fish species. Mini-fykes were the most efficient method for detecting amphibian species in some seasons, but efficiency was likely altered due to changing habitat conditions, like increased vegetation. Mini-fyke nets caught all 5 of the SOCC and unique species not caught by any other method. Our results suggest that managed Missouri wetlands contain diverse aquatic communities and that sampling with mini-fyke nets may be most suitable way to collect the majority of the fish and amphibian species in a short amount of time. This research is the first step in identifying species presence and richness of the less visible taxonomic communities using wetlands. The results of this study can aid wetland management by informing decisions and be used in future studies to evaluate other wetland community questions.

Monday February 6, 2017 1:20pm - 1:40pm
Grand Ballroom C

Attendees (10)