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Water 2016, 8(4), 146; doi:10.3390/w8040146

Environmental Factors Structuring Fish Communities in Floodplain Lakes of the Undisturbed System of the Biebrza River

1
Department of Water Resources, Climatology and Environmental Management, University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Plac Łódzki 2, Olsztyn 10-719, Poland
2
Department of Lake and River Fisheries, University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Oczapowskiego str. 5, Olsztyn 10-718, Poland
3
Department of Hydrobiology, University of Kazimierz Wielki in Bydgoszcz, Jana Karola Chodkiewicza 30, Bydgoszcz 85-064, Poland
4
Department of Water Protection Engineering, University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Prawochenskiego str. 1, Olsztyn 10-719, Poland
5
Department of Hydrobiology, Institute of Biology, University of Białystok, Ciołkowskiego 1J, Białystok 15-245, Poland
6
Department of Microbiology, University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Oczapowskiego str. 5, Olsztyn 10-719, Poland
7
Division of Hydrology and Water Resources, Warsaw University of Life Sciences, Nowoursynowska str. 159, Warszawa 02-776, Poland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Young-Seuk Park
Received: 27 January 2016 / Revised: 29 March 2016 / Accepted: 31 March 2016 / Published: 12 April 2016
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Abstract

We evaluated the influence of habitat connectivity and local environmental factors on the distribution and abundance of functional fish groups in 10 floodplain lakes in the Biebrza River, northeastern Poland. Fish were sampled by electrofishing, and 15 physico-chemical parameters were recorded at three sampling sites at each lake in the period of 2011–2013. A total of 18,399 specimens, belonging to 23 species and six families, were captured. The relationships between environmental factors and fish communities were explored with the use of canonical correspondence analysis (CCA). Sampling sites were grouped based on fish communities using a hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA). Along a lateral connectivity gradient from lotic to lentic habitats (parapotamic–plesiopotamic–paleopotamic), the proportions of rheophilic species were determined as 10:5:1, whereas the proportion of limnophilic species was determined as 1:2:5. The predominant species were the roach (Rutilus rutilus), and pike (Esox lucius) in parapotamic lakes, rudd (Scardinius erythropthalmus) and pike in plesiopotamic lakes, and sunbleak (Leucaspius delineates) and Prussian carp (Carassius auratus gibelio) in paleopotamic lakes. The findings indicated that the composition and abundance of fish communities are determined by lake isolation gradient, physico-chemical parameters and water stage. Although intact riverine ecosystems may promote fish biodiversity, our findings suggest that lateral connectivity between the main channel and floodplain lakes is of utmost importance. Thus, the conservation of fish biodiversity requires the preservation of this connectivity. View Full-Text
Keywords: fish communities; floodplain lake; fish; lateral connectivity; Biebrza River; lowland river; CCA fish communities; floodplain lake; fish; lateral connectivity; Biebrza River; lowland river; CCA
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Glińska-Lewczuk, K.; Burandt, P.; Kujawa, R.; Kobus, S.; Obolewski, K.; Dunalska, J.; Grabowska, M.; Lew, S.; Chormański, J. Environmental Factors Structuring Fish Communities in Floodplain Lakes of the Undisturbed System of the Biebrza River. Water 2016, 8, 146.

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