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Title: Effects of experimental environmental flow release on the diet of fish in a regulated coastal Australian river
Contributor(s): Rolls, Robert Jeremy (author); Boulton, Andrew J  (author); Growns, Ivor  (author); Maxwell, Sally E  (author); Ryder, Darren  (author); Westhorpe, Douglas P (author)
Publication Date: 2012
DOI: 10.1007/s10750-012-1012-5
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Abstract: Environmental flow rules are developed to provide a flow regime necessary to maintain healthy river and floodplain ecosystems in rivers regulated for human uses. However, few studies have experimentally assessed potential ecological mechanisms causing declines in the health and productivity of freshwater fish assemblages in regulated rivers to inform the development of appropriate environmental flows.We tested whether an experimental flow release in a regulated tributary of the Hunter River, Australia, altered the diet of two widely distributed fish species (Australian smelt 'Retropinna semoni' and Cox's gudgeon 'Gobiomorphus coxii') compared with data from unregulated reference and regulated control tributaries. Neither species had significant differences in the number of prey taxa ingested, gut fullness or composition of gut contents due to the environmental flow release (EFR). The diet of 'R. semoni' did not differ significantly between regulated and unregulated tributaries in either catchment. However, the diet of 'G. coxii' differed in only one of the two pairs of rivers consistently across all sample times. Assuming the EFR was sufficient to alter the composition of prey available for consumption by the fish species studied, our findings imply that functional indicators, such as the diet of generalist higher-order consumers, may be more suitable indicators of long-term flow regime change rather than short-term flow events.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Hydrobiologia, 686(1), p. 195-212
Publisher: Springer Netherlands
Place of Publication: Netherlands
ISSN: 1573-5117
Fields of Research (FoR) 2008: 050207 Environmental Rehabilitation (excl Bioremediation)
060204 Freshwater Ecology
050102 Ecosystem Function
Fields of Research (FoR) 2020: 410405 Environmental rehabilitation and restoration
310304 Freshwater ecology
410203 Ecosystem function
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2008: 960505 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Forest and Woodlands Environments
960912 Urban and Industrial Water Management
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2020: 180301 Assessment and management of freshwater ecosystems
180699 Terrestrial systems and management not elsewhere classified
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
Appears in Collections:Journal Article

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