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The North American Freshwater Migratory Fish Database (NAFMFD): Characterizing the migratory life histories of freshwater fishes of Canada, the United States and Mexico

April 22, 2022

Aim

Migratory freshwater fishes are those that must access discrete habitats to complete their life cycles. Freshwater fish migrations occur around the world and provide numerous ecosystem services for humans and natural systems; however, many migratory species are in decline globally. A limiting factor to successfully conserve freshwater migratory fishes is that the migratory life histories of many species are unknown or only partially described. To provide researchers with critical and comprehensive information to conserve migratory fishes, we developed the North American Freshwater Migratory Fish Database (NAFMFD).

Location

Canada, Mexico and the United States.

Taxon

Freshwater fish.

Methods

To develop this database, we assigned migratory status, pattern and behaviour to a comprehensive list of freshwater fish species found throughout North America. We assembled the database which included assignments (i.e. migratory status, pattern and behaviour) as well as the sources used to make the assignments. Researchers and managers from across North America reviewed the database for completeness and accuracy on the migratory life histories of fishes.

Results

The database synthesizes current knowledge of migratory status, pattern and behaviour of native and non-native freshwater fishes throughout North America, including 1250 species representing 79 families and 325 genera. Results showcase the diversity of migratory life histories of freshwater fishes on the continent, including that at least 25% of North American freshwater fishes are migratory, 23% are non-migratory and 44% have undetermined migratory status.

Main conclusions

NAFMFD improves the quality of migratory data accessible to researchers, which supports a more holistic understanding of the threats encountered by migratory fishes, including habitat fragmentation. The approach we used in developing NAFMFD can provide guidance for developing similar databases in other regions. Collectively, our work offers new insights into the range of freshwater fish migratory life histories, stimulating a need to better understand this diversity globally.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2022
Title The North American Freshwater Migratory Fish Database (NAFMFD): Characterizing the migratory life histories of freshwater fishes of Canada, the United States and Mexico
DOI 10.1111/jbi.14367
Authors Emily M. Dean, Arthur R. Cooper, Lizhu Wang, Wesley Daniel, Solomon David, Clayton Ernzen, Keith B. Gido, Edward Hale, Tim J. Haxton, William Kelso, Nancy J. Leonard, Chris Lido, Joseph Margraf, Michael D. Porter, Casey A. Pennock, David L. Propst, Jared Ross, Michelle Staudinger, Dana M. Infante, Gary Whelan
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Biogeography
Series Number
Index ID 70231467
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Wetland and Aquatic Research Center