Dissolved oxygen controls summer habitat of Clear Lake Hitch (Lavinia exilicauda chi), an imperilled potamodromous cyprinid

Ecology of Freshwater Fish
By: , and 



The Clear Lake Hitch is an imperiled minnow endemic to Clear Lake, Lake County, California, USA that is listed as threatened under the California Endangered Species Act (ESA) and is a candidate for listing under the United States ESA. It exhibits a potamodromous life cycle whereby adults, which reach up to 6+ years in age and over 350 mm in length, migrate into Clear Lake’s ephemeral tributaries briefly during spring to spawn. Conservation and management of Clear Lake Hitch is inhibited, in part, by a lack of information on the lacustrine distribution and habitat of non-breeding individuals within Clear Lake. To address this problem, we sampled Clear Lake Hitch with gill nets in a stratified random sampling design to determine the distribution and habitat associations in early summer 2017 and 2018. We identified abundance-habitat relationships for juvenile and adult Clear Lake Hitch using Bayesian zero-inflated negative binomial generalized linear mixed modeling. The results indicated that dissolved oxygen concentration was the most important habitat feature among those measured; both juvenile and adult Clear Lake Hitch were substantially more abundant in normoxic (> 2 mg l-1) than in hypoxic (< 2 mg l-1) habitat. Both life stages also exhibited weak positive relationships with chlorophyll fluorescence, suggesting that relatively productive habitats may support higher numbers of Clear Lake Hitch. Spatially, juveniles were most abundant in nearshore habitats while adults were ubiquitous, indicating an ontogentic habitat expansion that may be associated with a resource availability-predation risk tradeoff. Management actions undertaken to improve or alleviate water quality and hypoxia problems in Clear Lake would also improve Clear Lake Hitch habitat.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Dissolved oxygen controls summer habitat of Clear Lake Hitch (Lavinia exilicauda chi), an imperilled potamodromous cyprinid
Series title Ecology of Freshwater Fish
DOI 10.1111/eff.12505
Volume 29
Issue 2
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) California Water Science Center
Description 9 p.
First page 188
Last page 196
Country United States
State California
County Lake County
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