Flow plays a dominant role in influencing patterns and processes in riverine ecosystems. For example, spawning and recruitment of freshwater fish has often been linked to flow. Since the mid 1990’s, many Australian studies have examined the importance of flow for initiating spawning, and enhancing the survival of young, and hence improving recruitment. An important outcome of this research has been an increasing number of environmental watering objectives that are targeted at enhancing native fish spawning and recruitment. Despite this, there has been little improvement in our knowledge base of relationships between aspects of flow and key life history events, or of environmental flow management. We contend that the current trend of short-term funding and event-based monitoring is perpetuating this problem, and what is needed is longer-term research, perhaps at a few ‘sentinel’ sites. This will enable scientists and managers to determine: (a) the importance of flow relative to other factors; (b) which flow components (e.g. timing, duration, magnitude etc.) are critical in driving responses; (c) life history variation among co-existing fishes; and, (d) the importance of antecedent conditions on spawning and recruitment outcomes. We will present examples from long-term Australian studies on spawning and recruitment, and describe how they have been used to explore these issues. We will also propose novel design and analytical approaches that could be used in future research to better understand the flow requirements of fish and manage environmental water allocations.
|Publication status||Published - 2014|
|Event||ASFB & ASL Congress 2014 - Darwin Convention Centre, Darwin, Australia|
Duration: 30 Jun 2014 → 4 Jul 2014
|Conference||ASFB & ASL Congress 2014|
|Period||30/06/14 → 4/07/14|