Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Toward improved prediction of streamflow effects on freshwater fishes

February 2, 2022

Understanding the effects of hydrology on fish populations is essential to managing for native fish conservation. However, despite decades of research illustrating streamflow influences on fish habitat, reproduction and survival, biologists remain challenged when tasked with predicting how fish populations will respond to changes in flow regimes. This uncertainty stems from insufficient understanding of the context-dependent mechanisms underlying fish responses to, for example, periods of reduced flow or altered frequency of high-flow events. We aim to address this gap by drawing on previous research to hypothesize mechanisms by which low- and high-flows influence fish populations and communities, identifying challenges that stem from data limitations and ecological complexity, and outlining research directions that can advance an empirical basis for prediction. Focusing flow-ecology research on testing and refining mechanistic hypotheses can help narrow management uncertainties and better support species conservation in changing flow regimes.

Publication Year 2022
Title Toward improved prediction of streamflow effects on freshwater fishes
DOI 10.1002/fsh.10731
Authors Mary Freeman, Kevin R. Bestgen, Daren Carlisle, Emmanuel A. Frimpong, Nathan R. Franssen, Ketih B. Gido, Elise R. Irwin, Yoichiro Kanno, Charles H. Luce, S. Kyle McKay, Meryl C. Mims, Julian D. Olden, N. LeRoy Poff, David L. Propst, Laura Rack, Allison H. Roy, Edward S. Stowe, Annika W. Walters, Seth J. Wenger
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Fisheries Magazine
Index ID 70227961
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit; Eastern Ecological Science Center