, Volume 527, Issue 1, pp 49-61

Geomorphic Disturbance and its Impact on Darter (Teleostomi: Percidae) Distribution and Abundance in the Pearl River Drainage, Mississippi

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Abstract

We examined channel and point bar changes over time in the Pearl River, a meandering, Coastal Plain stream in Mississippi and Louisiana. We interpreted extreme changes in bar area as evidence of channel instability and related this to the diversity and abundance of darters in the river. Darters were less diverse and abundant in more disturbed reaches in comparison with relatively undisturbed reaches. Darter abundance was positively correlated with proximity to extreme bar-area changes. The relationship between channel instability and darter abundance observed here points to the importance of landscape level approaches to in-stream habitat management. The results suggest that river management practices that prevent or mitigate extreme changes in channel or sediment dynamics should be adopted for the benefit of benthic communities.