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Tuesday, February 7 • 10:20am - 10:40am
Technical Session. In Pursuit of a Silver Bullet: Does Standardized Sampling Need to Accommodate Seasonal and Regional Influences on Fish Richness Across Large Rivers of Missouri?

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AUTHORS: Corey Dunn, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia; Craig Paukert, US Geological Survey, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia

ABSTRACT: Fish richness patterns are largely unknown in Missouri’s “mid-sized” rivers interspaced between wadeable streams and the great rivers. Our objective was to develop standardized fish sampling protocols for these rivers. We conducted 35 surveys across nine sites and two regions (Ozarks, Plains). We used six active and passive gears to repeatedly sample sites in spring, summer, and fall from summer 2014 – spring 2016. We asked, 1) Does fish richness vary seasonally and between regions? 2) Were gears similarly effective across seasons and regions? and 3) Can efficiency be improved by minimizing redundancy among gears? We assessed gear effectiveness via species-accumulation curves (i.e., effort vs. percentage of detected richness). We used Monte-Carlo simulation to reduce the full protocol into the most efficient nested combinations of gear and effort that still detected high levels of richness. Average richness per site ranged from 31–49 species in the Plains and 47–71 in the Ozarks, which was approximately 200–300% of the historical average richness reported per survey within each region. While assemblage composition changed seasonally, species richness remained constant (mean richness ± 90% confidence interval: spring = 50.1 ± 7.9, summer = 50.6 ± 9.5, fall = 51.1 ± 9.4). Species-accumulation curves constructed by combining all gears were asymptotic indicating nearly all species were detected during each survey; however, the most effective single gear (boat electrofishing), on average only detected 60% of richness. Protocols emphasizing electrofishing, seining, fyke nets, and benthic trawling minimized redundancy among gears. For example, the most efficient protocols for detecting 75% and 90% of species richness with 95% confidence only required 30% and 59% of initial survey effort, respectively. Overall, findings demonstrated richness was spatially variable but seasonally consistent. Despite logistical challenges, standardized monitoring within mid-sized rivers is achievable, but will require an efficient and diversified approach.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 10:20am - 10:40am
Grand Ballroom C

Attendees (5)