, Volume 718, Issue 1, pp 221–235 | Cite as

Patterns of assemblage change in prairie stream fishes in relation to urban stormwater impoundments

  • Loren W. StearmanEmail author
  • Dustin T. Lynch
Primary Research Paper


The effects of stream urbanization on fishes have been well studied in general. Yet despite the wealth of knowledge available for streams in many different ecoregions, relatively little is known of the effects of urbanization on prairie stream fishes. Management of urban stormwater through impoundment has the potential to fragment streams, and habitat fragmentation on nonurban streams has been documented to relate to declines in small-bodied mobile minnow species. We asked whether urban habitat fragmentation through stormwater impoundment would relate to a similar decline in small-bodied fishes in Cottonwood Creek, a stream system partially managed by stormwater impoundment in central Oklahoma. Analyses with basic metrics of ecological tolerance, richness, community structure, and multivariate ordination found negative relationships between cyprinid richness and abundance and a metric of urban habitat fragmentation, as well as between Lepomis humilis, a small-bodied sunfish, and the metric of urban habitat fragmentation. We review potential hypotheses for these biological patterns in fragmented urban streams, including predation, lack of successful reproduction, and lack of ability to recolonize above barriers.


Urbanization Stream fragmentation Dams Anthropogenic disturbance 



Without a number of people, this research would not have occurred. K. McBee and K. Hays reviewed initial grant drafts and provided commentary on what would later become this manuscript. A. Echelle selflessly donated time in the field, laboratory space, and ideas on analyses. G. Adams and R. Adams provided recommendations on analyses as well. M. Stearman and C. L. Hammer donated considerable time and effort in the field. Finally, R. Walker, J. Christian, and numerous anonymous reviewers provided commentary which greatly improved the quality of this manuscript. We extend the deepest gratitude to these people for their assistance in all aspects of this project. This research was conducted at Oklahoma State University and funded by a grant from the Lew Wentz Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pacific States Marine Fisheries CommissionMarysvilleUSA
  2. 2.Arkansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of ArkansasFayettevilleUSA

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