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Saint Paul, MN, United States

Cochran-Biederman J.L.,Conservation Biology Graduate Program | Cochran-Biederman J.L.,Winona State University | Wyman K.E.,Conservation Biology Graduate Program | French W.E.,Conservation Biology Graduate Program | Loppnow G.L.,Conservation Biology Graduate Program
Conservation Biology | Year: 2015

Reintroduction of imperiled native freshwater fish is becoming an increasingly important conservation tool amidst persistent anthropogenic pressures and new threats related to climate change. We summarized trends in native fish reintroductions in the current literature, identified predictors of reintroduction outcome, and devised recommendations for managers attempting future native fish reintroductions. We constructed random forest classifications using data from 260 published case studies of native fish reintroductions to estimate the effectiveness of variables in predicting reintroduction outcome. The outcome of each case was assigned as a success or failure on the basis of the author's perception of the outcome and on whether or not survival, spawning, or recruitment were documented during post-reintroduction monitoring. Inadequately addressing the initial cause of decline was the best predictor of reintroduction failure. Variables associated with habitat (e.g., water quality, prey availability) were also good predictors of reintroduction outcomes, followed by variables associated with stocking (e.g., genetic diversity of stock source, duration of stocking event). Consideration of these variables by managers during the planning process may increase the likelihood for successful outcomes in future reintroduction attempts of native freshwater fish. © 2014 Society for Conservation Biology.

Beck M.W.,Conservation Biology Graduate Program | Hatch L.K.,Conservation Biology Graduate Program | Vondracek B.,U.S. Geological Survey | Valley R.D.,200 Warner Road
Ecological Indicators | Year: 2010

Traditional approaches for managing aquatic resources have often failed to account for effects of anthropogenic disturbances on biota that are not directly reflected by chemical and physical proxies of environmental condition. The index of biotic integrity (IBI) is a potentially effective assessment method to integrate ecological, functional, and structural aspects of aquatic systems. A macrophyte-based IBI was developed for Minnesota lakes to assess the ability of aquatic plant communities to indicate environmental condition. The index was developed using quantitative point intercept vegetation surveys for 97 lakes that represent a range of limnological and watershed characteristics. We followed an approach similar to that used in Wisconsin to develop the aquatic macrophyte community index (AMCI). Regional adaptation of the AMCI required the identification of species representative of macrophyte communities in Minnesota. Metrics and scaling methods were also substantially modified to produce a more empirically robust index. Regression analyses indicated that IBI scores reflected statewide differences in lake trophic state (R2 = 0.57, F = 130.3, df = 1, 95, p < 0.005), agricultural (R2 = 0.51, F = 83.0, df = 1, 79, p < 0.005), urban (R2 = 0.22, F = 23.0, df = 1, 79, p < 0.005), and forested land uses (R2 = 0.51, F = 84.7, df = 1, 79, p < 0.005), and county population density (R2 = 0.14, F = 16.6, df = 1, 95, p < 0.005). Variance partitioning analyses using multiple regression models indicated a unique response of the IBI to human-induced stress separate from a response to natural lake characteristics. The IBI was minimally affected by differences in sample point density as indicated by Monte Carlo analyses of reduced sampling effort. Our analysis indicates that a macrophyte IBI calibrated for Minnesota lakes could be useful for identifying differences in environmental condition attributed to human-induced stress gradients. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

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