Influence of a large dam on the longitudinal patterns of fish assemblages in Qingyi Stream|
Sui, Xiao-Yun; Lu, Zhi; Yan, Yun-Zhi; Chen, Yi-Feng & Jia, Yin-Tao
Using seasonally collected data (2009-2010) from 15 sampling sites that represent first- to fifth-order streams within the Qingyi watershed, we examined the spatio-temporal patterns of fish assemblages along two longitudinal gradients to explore the effects of a large dam on fish assemblages at the watershed scale. No significant variation was observed in either species richness or assemblage structure across seasons. Species richness significantly varied according to stream order and gradient. Dam construction appeared to decrease species richness upstream substantially, while a significant decrease between gradients only occurred within fourth-order streams. Along the gradient without the large dam, fish assemblage structures presented distinct separation between two neighboring stream orders, with the exception of fourth-order versus fifth-order streams. However, the gradient disrupted by a large dam displayed the opposite pattern in the spatial variation of fish assemblages related with stream orders. Significant between-gradient differences in fish assemblage structures were only observed within fourth-order streams. Species distributions were determined by local habitat environmental factors, including elevation, substrate, water depth, current discharge, wetted width, and conductivity. Our results suggested that dam construction might alter the longitudinal pattern in fish species richness and assemblage structure in Qingyi Stream, despite the localized nature of the ecological effect of dams.
Fish assemblage; Species richness; Spatiotemporal pattern; Longitudinal gradient; Dam building