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Comparison of Benthic Fish Assemblages Along Revetted and Natural Banks in the Lower Mississippi River: A 30-Year Perspective

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Technical Report

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ERDC Environmental Laboratory Vicksburg United States

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Benthic fish assemblages were compared in 2016-2017 among three different bank types in the Lower Mississippi River LMR using hoopnets Articulated Concrete Mattress ACM along main channel banks, natural banks along main channel, and natural banks in a secondary channel. Species richness was highest in secondary channels 21 species, followed by ACM 20 species, and natural banks 16 species. However, abundance of dominant species i.e., Flathead Catfish, Blue Catfish, Freshwater Drum, and Buffalo differed seasonally. Blue Catfish were more abundant along natural banks and secondary channels during the summer. Flathead Catfish abundance peaked during the summer in the secondary channels but were also abundant along ACM year-round. Freshwater Drum abundance was highest along natural banks in the winter and ACM in the spring. Juvenile Buffalo utilized secondary channels in the winter indicating the importance of these habitats for over-wintering fishes. Comparison of the native benthic fish assemblage between 1985 and 2016 17 revealed minimal differences in species composition and abundance indicating long-term stability and resilience of LMR fishes. An exception was the prevalence of Asian Carp Silver and Bighead, which were two to three times higher than any native species.

Subject Categories:

  • Hydrology, Limnology and Potamology
  • Biology
  • Ecology

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