skip to main content


Title: Single-Species Co-management Improves Fish Assemblage Structure and Composition in a Tropical River
Co-management is increasingly recognized as an effective model for managing fisheries, but little information exists on whether co-management can produce effects in species other than the target species. Fishery co-management in the tropics, where fish diversity is high and fish catches tend to be multispecies, is prone to produce assemblage-wide effects via alterations in the food web and changes in the overall capture of non-target species. Here, we assessed the effects of co-management for the species Arapaima sp. in relation to the structure and composition of the overall fish assemblage in floodplain lakes of the central Amazon Basin. These floodplain lakes are managed under a system of zoning of fishing activities. We used data from surveys of six floodplain lakes, including two lakes of each of three categories (lakes where fishing is prohibited, limited-access lakes, and open fishing lakes). The surveys were carried out before and after implementation of co-management, through gillnet fishing. The study area was the lower Solimões River, in the Amazon Basin, Brazil. Statistical models showed significant changes in the composition and structure of the fish assemblages after the implementation of the co-management, regardless of the zoning category. Through regulation of gear use and fishing practices, co-management allowed the colonization of species that had not been present before, which lead to higher richness and consequently increased fish sizes, abundance and biomass. Species of sedentary habits, migrants of short and medium distances, with commercial importance benefited the most from co-management. In the results presented in temporal scale, it was possible to observe a potential spillover effect being provided by the lakes where fishing is prohibited (no-take zones) and those of limited access that benefited those open to fishing. Thus, co-management had positive effects in the structure and composition of fish assemblages in all lakes, regardless of zoning category.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1852113
NSF-PAR ID:
10317333
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution
Volume:
9
ISSN:
2296-701X
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    The Amazon rainforest has experienced rapid land‐use changes over the last few decades, including extensive deforestation that can affect riparian habitats and streams. The aim of this study was to assess responses of stream fish assemblages to deforestation and land cover change in the eastern Amazon. We expected that percentage of forest in the catchment is correlated with local habitat complexity, which in turn determines fish assemblage composition and structure. We sampled 71 streams in areas with different land uses and tested for relationships between stream fish assemblages and local habitat and landscape variables while controlling for the effect of intersite distance. Fish assemblage composition and structure were correlated with forest coverage, but local habitat variables explained more of the variation in both assemblage composition and structure than landscape variables. Intersite distance contributed to variance explained by local habitat and landscape variables, and the percentage of variance explained by the unique contribution of local habitat was approximately equivalent to the shared variance explained by all three factors in the model. In these streams of the eastern Amazon, fish assemblages were most strongly influenced by features of instream and riparian habitats, yet indirect effects of deforestation on fish assemblage composition and structure were observed even though intact riparian zones were present at most sites. Long‐term monitoring of the hydrographic basin, instream habitat and aquatic fauna is needed to test for potential legacy effects and time lags, as well as assess species responses to continuing deforestation and land‐use changes in the Amazon.

     
    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    We investigated how the taxonomic and functional structures of fish assemblages in the lower Amazon River floodplain responded to seasonal hydrological variations. Fishes were sampled in 440 aquatic habitats across a floodplain area of 17,673 km2during periods of high, receding, low and rising water. In addition, we recorded local environmental and landscape variables known to affect fish assemblages in floodplains. Redundancy analysis indicated that the taxonomic and functional structures of the fish assemblages were associated with water levels as well as local environmental, landscape and spatial variables. Our results showed that piscivores, planktivores and omnivores, as well as species with periodic and intermediate life history strategies, dominated the floodplain fish assemblages during periods of high‐water levels, whereas herbivores, invertivores and detritivores, as well as species of large body size with an equilibrium life history strategy, dominated the fish assemblages during periods of low‐water levels. Hydrology strongly influenced the structure of the fish assemblages in the Amazon floodplains. Our results indicate that the maintenance of seasonal hydrological dynamics in the basin is essential for the conservation of the regional fish diversity.

     
    more » « less
  3. Understanding environmental biodiversity drivers in freshwater systems continues to be a fundamental challenge in studies of their fish assemblages. The present study seeks to determine the degree to which landscape variables of Amazonian floodplain lakes influences fish assemblages in these environments. Fish species richness was estimated in 15 Amazonian floodplain lakes during the high and low-water phases and correlated with the areas of four inundated wetland classes: (i) open water, (ii) flooded herbaceous, (iii) flooded shrubs and (iv) flooded forest estimated in different radius circular areas around each sampling site. Data were analyzed using generalized linear models with fish species richness, total and guilds as the dependent variable and estimates of buffered landscape areas as explanatory variables. Our analysis identified the significance of landscape variables in determining the diversity of fish assemblages in Amazonian floodplain lakes. Spatial scale was also identified as a significant determinant of fish diversity as landscape effects were more evident at larger spatial scales. In particular, (1) total species richness was more sensitive to variations in the landscape areas than number of species within guilds and (2) the spatial extent of the wetland class of shrubs was consistently the more influential on fish species diversity. 
    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    Tropical floodplains secure the protein supply of millions of people, but only sound management can ensure the long‐term continuity of such ecosystem services. Overfishing is a widespread threat to multitrophic systems, but how it affects ecosystem functioning is poorly understood, particularly in tropical freshwater food webs. Models based on temperate lakes frequently assume that primary producers are mostly bottom‐up controlled by nutrient and light limitations, with negligible effects of top‐down forces. Yet this assumption remains untested in complex tropical freshwater systems experiencing marked spatiotemporal variation.

    We use consolidated community‐based fisheries management practices and spatial zoning to test the relative importance of bottom‐up versus top‐down drivers of phytoplankton biomass, controlling for the influence of local to landscape heterogeneity. Our study focuses on 58 large Amazonian floodplain lakes under different management regimes that resulted in a gradient of apex‐predator abundance. These lakes, distributed along ~600 km of a major tributary of the Amazon River, varied widely in size, structure, landscape context, and hydrological seasonality.

    Using generalised linear models, we show that community‐based fisheries management, which controls the density of apex predators, is the strongest predictor of phytoplankton biomass during the dry season, when lakes become discrete landscape units. Water transparency also emerges as an important bottom‐up factor, but phosphorus, nitrogen and several lake and landscape metrics had minor or no effects on phytoplankton biomass. During the wet‐season food pulse, when lakes become connected to adjacent water bodies and homogenise the landscape, only lake depth explained phytoplankton biomass.

    Synthesis and applications. Tropical freshwaters fisheries typically assume that fish biomass is controlled by bottom‐up mechanisms, so that overexploitation of large predators would not affect overall ecosystem productivity. Our results, however, show that top‐down forces are important drivers of primary productivity in tropical lakes, above and beyond the effects of bottom‐up factors. This helps us to understand the enormous success of community‐based ‘fishing agreements’ in the Amazon. Multiple stakeholders should embrace socio‐ecological management practices that shape both bottom‐up and top‐down forces to ensure biodiversity protection, sustainable fisheries yields and food security for local communities and regional economies.

     
    more » « less
  5. Knowledge of the spatial variation of deep-sea fish assemblages is a critical gap in understanding seamount ecology. Pioneer Bank in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (Hawaii, USA) has a history of hook-and-line fishing but not trawling; thus, it is a good location to further describe deep-sea fish assemblages. From replicated autonomous underwater vehicle transects at 300, 450, and 600 m on 3 sides of Pioneer Bank, we observed 4190 fish representing 81 species. Fish assemblages were dominated by Gadiformes, Perciformes, and Stomiiformes. The relative abundance of fish was significantly different among sides of the seamount and the interaction of side and depth, with the NW side having the highest relative abundance at 450 m. Species richness, rarefaction estimates of expected species richness, Shannon diversity, and Simpson dominance showed significant differences by side, but not by depth. These differences were between the S and NW sides, with the S side having the lowest diversity and high dominance. The structure of the fish assemblage was significantly different among both sides and depths, with depth as the most important factor. Fish assemblage structure was most strongly correlated with salinity, % rugosity, chlorophyll a , and mean direction of substrate. These scales of spatial variability both with depth and across short horizontal distances on a single seamount are similar to those found on nearby Necker Island, which reaffirms the spatial heterogeneity in deep-sea fish assemblages on seamounts. This study provides an ecological baseline for the management and conservation of seamounts. 
    more » « less