Riverscape recruitment: A conceptual synthesis of drivers of fish recruitment in rivers

Paul Humphries, Alison King, Nicole McCasker, R. Keller Kopf, Rick Stoffels, Brenton Zampatti, Amina Price

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Most fish recruitment models consider only one or a few drivers in isolation, rarely include species’ traits, and have limited relevance to riverine environments. Despite their diversity, riverine fishes share sufficient characteristics that prediction of recruitment should be possible. Here we synthesize the essential components of fish recruitment hypotheses and the key features of rivers to develop a model that predicts relative recruitment strength, for all fishes, in rivers under all flow conditions. The model proposes that interactions between flow and physical complexity will create locations in rivers, at mesoscales, where energy and nutrients are enriched. The resultant production of small prey will be concentrated and prey and fish larvae located (through dispersal or retention) so that the larvae can feed, grow, and recruit. Our synthesis explains how flow and physical complexity affect fish recruitment and provides a conceptual basis to better conserve and manage riverine fishes globally.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-225
Number of pages13
JournalCanadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


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