Restoration of spawning and juvenile habitats is often used to restore fish abundances in rivers, although often with unclear results. To study the effects of habitat limitations on the common barbel (Barbus barbus), a riverine litophilic cyprinid fish, an age-structured population model was developed. Using a Bayesian modeling approach, spawning and fry (0+ juvenile) habitat availability was integrated in the model in a spatially explicit way. Using Beverton-Holt and Ricker recruitment models, density dependence was incorporated in the spawning process and the recruitment of 0+ juveniles. Model parameters and their uncertainty ranges were obtained from reviewing the existing literature. The uncertainty of the processes was intrinsically accounted for by the inherently probabilistic nature of the Bayesian model. By testing various scenarios of habitat availabilities for the barbel, we hypothesize that improvement of the fish stock will be reached only at a well specified ratio of spawning to fry habitat. Model simulations revealed substantial abundance improvements at rather equal amounts of about 10% cover of both habitats, while even substantial improvements of either spawning or fry habitats only will result in little or no increase of abundance. Higher ratios of spawning to fry habitat were found to lower population recovery times. This work provides a tool that serves the assessment and comparison of river restoration scenarios as well as benchmarking rehabilitation targets in the planning phase. When targeting restoration of fish stocks, focusing only on one key life stage or process (such as spawning), without considering potential bottlenecks in other stages, can result in little to no improvement.

How Much Habitat Does a River Need? A Spatially-explicit Population Dynamics Model to Assess Ratios of Ontogenetical Habitat Needs / Faro, D.; Zolezzi, G.; Wolter, C.. - In: JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT. - ISSN 0301-4797. - 286:(2021), pp. 11210001-11210010. [10.1016/j.jenvman.2021.112100]

How Much Habitat Does a River Need? A Spatially-explicit Population Dynamics Model to Assess Ratios of Ontogenetical Habitat Needs

Zolezzi G.;
2021

Abstract

Restoration of spawning and juvenile habitats is often used to restore fish abundances in rivers, although often with unclear results. To study the effects of habitat limitations on the common barbel (Barbus barbus), a riverine litophilic cyprinid fish, an age-structured population model was developed. Using a Bayesian modeling approach, spawning and fry (0+ juvenile) habitat availability was integrated in the model in a spatially explicit way. Using Beverton-Holt and Ricker recruitment models, density dependence was incorporated in the spawning process and the recruitment of 0+ juveniles. Model parameters and their uncertainty ranges were obtained from reviewing the existing literature. The uncertainty of the processes was intrinsically accounted for by the inherently probabilistic nature of the Bayesian model. By testing various scenarios of habitat availabilities for the barbel, we hypothesize that improvement of the fish stock will be reached only at a well specified ratio of spawning to fry habitat. Model simulations revealed substantial abundance improvements at rather equal amounts of about 10% cover of both habitats, while even substantial improvements of either spawning or fry habitats only will result in little or no increase of abundance. Higher ratios of spawning to fry habitat were found to lower population recovery times. This work provides a tool that serves the assessment and comparison of river restoration scenarios as well as benchmarking rehabilitation targets in the planning phase. When targeting restoration of fish stocks, focusing only on one key life stage or process (such as spawning), without considering potential bottlenecks in other stages, can result in little to no improvement.
Faro, D.; Zolezzi, G.; Wolter, C.
How Much Habitat Does a River Need? A Spatially-explicit Population Dynamics Model to Assess Ratios of Ontogenetical Habitat Needs / Faro, D.; Zolezzi, G.; Wolter, C.. - In: JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT. - ISSN 0301-4797. - 286:(2021), pp. 11210001-11210010. [10.1016/j.jenvman.2021.112100]
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