New RBC Publication: Physiography and Metapopulations

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New RBC Publication: Physiography and Metapopulations

Mean colonization probabilities values (black line) and the 95% credible intervals (grey polygon) for sites above or below the Fall Line, by fluvial specialization (HG = habitat generalist; FS = fluvial specialist. Click the image to view the original article.

River Basin Center Postdoctoral Research Associate Kit Wheeler, with co-authors including RBC Science Director Seth Wenger and RBC faculty Mary Freeman, has just published a paper on stream fish metapopulation dynamics in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) River basin.  The team used data describing occupancy dynamics of stream fishes to evaluate evidence showing that physiography influences rates at which taxa persist/colonize stream reaches under different flow conditions.  A dataset of periodic stream fish surveys in this large river basin, with sites in multiple physiographic regions, was used to fit multi-species dynamic occupancy models that suggested that fish colonization probability was strongly governed by physiography, while the relationship between flow and persistence did not depend on physiography.    In order to fully understand the conservation of broadly distributed taxa and strategies that account for spatial variation, it is critical to understand the relative importance of colonization and persistence and how both processes may change across the landscape.   Many species have distributions that span distinctly different physiographic regions and effective conservation requires a full accounting of all factors that potentially influence populations.

The paper appears in the July 2018 issue of Biological Conservation.

Uploaded 5/10/18 | Text: Cyra Malec