Wetland geomorphology and tidal hydrodynamics drive fine-scale fish community composition and abundance

Environmental Biology of Fishes
By: , and 



Effective restoration of tidal wetlands for fish communities requires clear goals and mechanistic understanding of the ecosystem drivers which affect fish distribution and abundance. We examined fish community responses to abiotic habitat features in two adjacent but dissimilar freshwater tidal wetlands in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, CA, USA, each of which represents a potential restoration configuration. The first wetland was characterized by a broad, intertidal basin with relatively high hydrodynamic exchange with surrounding waterways. The second wetland was characterized by a dendritic network of shallow subtidal channels with relatively low hydrodynamic exchange. Fish community composition significantly differed between the two wetlands, based on permutational analysis of variance. Fish abundance within and among the two wetlands was also highly affected by specific geomorphic and hydrodynamic characteristics: distance from connection with the main external waterway, bed elevation, and water surface elevation. The physical configuration of a restored tidal wetland, in conjunction with the way tides move across the restored landscape, has strong implications for local fishes. Manipulating these elements to create a landscape mosaic of habitat configurations can be an effective tool for targeting desired restoration outcomes, such as specific fish communities or target fish densities.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Wetland geomorphology and tidal hydrodynamics drive fine-scale fish community composition and abundance
Series title Environmental Biology of Fishes
DOI 10.1007/s10641-023-01507-w
Volume 107
Year Published 2024
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) California Water Science Center
Description 14 p
First page 33
Last page 46
Country United States
State California
Other Geospatial Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta
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