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Tuesday, February 7 • 1:40pm - 2:00pm
Technical Session. Larval Fish Assemblages Differ Spatially and Temporally Among Tributaries of Two Large River Systems

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AUTHORS: Jordan J. Pesik, Eastern Illinois University; Daniel R. Roth, Eastern Illinois University; David H. Wahl, Illinois Natural History Survey; Robert E. Colombo, Eastern Illinois University

ABSTRACT: Little is known about larval fish communities in riverine systems. Since larval fish assemblages have been shown to vary on localized spatial and temporal scales, we were interested in comparing assemblages within and among tributaries of large rivers to better understand their ecology in tributaries and importance to the larger system. Two river systems were included in this study. The Wabash River is the twelfth longest river in the contiguous United States and is the longest unimpounded river East of the Mississippi River. In comparison, the Illinois River is a large and highly impounded river. Three major tributaries of each river were selected for sampling (Mackinaw, Spoon and Sangamon Rivers from the Illinois River system; Embarras, Little Wabash and Vermilion Rivers from the Wabash River system). Fish larvae were collected biweekly at three sites from each tributary to capture upper river, middle river, and lower river conditions. Three gears were used in larvae collection. We used anchor-mounted ichthyoplankton drift nets and quatrefoil light traps at all sites, and added boat-mounted ichthyoplankton net sampling at all lower river sites due to the necessity of large boat access. Catch per unit effort (number of fish per cubic meter, CPUE) was Log-transformed for analysis. Eleven families of fishes have been identified so far, of which Catostomidae and Cyprinidae are the most abundant. Preliminary results indicate the Wabash River system is more productive than the Illinois River system. Additionally, lower river sites seem to be more productive than upper river sites. While the flow and accumulation of resources inherent to a river’s longitudinal gradient may explain the differences in productivity among reaches within tributaries, we still need to elucidate the large scale differences between these two river systems influencing larval fish abundance and structure.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 1:40pm - 2:00pm CST
Grand Ballroom C