Flood pulse influences on exploited fish populations of the Central Amazon
Olsen, Jesse Eric Burle
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Seasonally fluctuating water levels, known as flood pulses, influence the population dynamics and catches of fishes from river-floodplains. Although different measures of flood pulses, here called flood pulse variables, have been correlated to changes in catches of river-floodplain fishes, the flood pulse variables that have the strongest relationships to catches have not been identified. Furthermore, it is unclear if flood pulses influence catches of river-floodplain fishes with different life history strategies in different ways. Catches of 21 taxa from approximately 18,000 fishing trips were modeled as a function of fishing effort, gear type, seasonal flood pulse variables, and interannual flood pulse variables. These models were analyzed to understand which flood pulse variables had the strongest relationships to catches, and evaluate different flood pulse influences among taxa with different life history strategies. High water flood pulse variables generally had positive influences on catches in future years, while low water flood pulse variables generally had negative influences on catches in future years. Flood pulses generally had stronger influences on the catches of fishes with high fecundities and smaller eggs than on catches of fishes with low fecundities and larger eggs. Variation was observed in strengths and directions of flood pulse influences on catches of fishes with similar and different life history strategies. While my results were generally consistent with prevailing knowledge of how flood pulses influence catches of fishes, other biological factors of specific fish populations may further explain population responses to flood pulses.
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