Impacts of Human Activities and Climate Change on Freshwater Fish, Volume II

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Water and Climate Change".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (25 September 2023) | Viewed by 25591

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Water Research Institute, National Research Council of Italy, IRSA-CNR, Largo Tonolli, 50, 28922 Verbania Pallanza, Italy
Interests: fish ecology; lacustrine food webs; invasive fish species; climate change; freshwater fish conservation; fisheries management
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Guest Editor
1. Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, 8600 Silkeborg, Denmark
2. Limnology Laboratory, Department of Biological Sciences and Centre for Ecosystem Research and Implementation, Middle East Technical University, 06800 Ankara, Turkey
Interests: aquatic ecology; biological structure and interactions with the nutrient dynamics and climate in lakes; lake restoration; lake re-establishment; paleoecology; ecosystem modelling
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
CNR Water Research Institute, Largo Tonolli 50, 28922 Verbania, Italy
Interests: fish trophic ecology; stable isotopes; invasive species; population genetics; conservation biology; freshwater ecology

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Guest Editor
Institute of Marine Sciences, Middle East Technical University, 33731 Mersin, Turkey
Interests: fish taxonomy; fish biodiversity; aquatic ecology; molecular phylogenetics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Fish play a key role in the food web dynamics of freshwater ecosystems as well as in the provision of services for human societies. Despite their importance, freshwater fish all around the world are under multiple pressures of anthropogenic and climatic origin, which often interact with each other. Eutrophication, chemical pollution, overfishing, water abstraction, and river morphology alteration, as well as novel emerging contaminants are only some examples of the pressures impacting freshwater fish.

In this Special Issue, we aim to collect reviews and significant case studies focusing on the impact of human activities and climatic pressure on freshwater fish at different levels of their organization (e.g., species, genus, family, assemblages) in rivers and lakes all around the world and, if available, successful solutions to counteract them. Case studies and reviews can also consider species that only partially spend their lives in freshwater, such as salmon, trout, sturgeons, and eels, but, nevertheless, need freshwater to complete their life cycle.

Dr. Pietro Volta
Prof. Dr. Erik Jeppesen
Dr. Vanessa De Santis
Dr. Mustafa Korkmaz
Guest Editors

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Published Papers (11 papers)

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Editorial

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8 pages, 251 KiB  
Editorial
Impacts of Human Activities and Climate Change on Freshwater Fish—Volume II
by Vanessa De Santis, Erik Jeppesen, Pietro Volta and Mustafa Korkmaz
Water 2023, 15(23), 4166; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15234166 - 1 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1389
Abstract
Freshwater fishes are at the center of the freshwater biodiversity crisis [...] Full article

Research

Jump to: Editorial

15 pages, 3761 KiB  
Article
Temporal Changes in Water Quality with Increasing Ambient Temperatures Affect the Distribution and Relative Abundance of 10 Species of Balitorid Fishes in Small Streams of Eastern Thailand
by Sampan Tongnunui, F. W. H. Beamish, Treerat Sooksawat, Amnuay Wattanakornsiri, Charoonroj Chotwiwatthanakun, Weerayuth Supiwong, Prasarn Intacharoen and Chanyut Sudtongkong
Water 2023, 15(15), 2791; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15152791 - 1 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1007
Abstract
Stream degradation increases with high anthropogenic activity and climate variability, while declines occur in biodiversity. However, few studies have been undertaken on tropical waterways, a major impediment to biodiversity conservation. The present study was conducted on 95 relatively pristine small streams in Eastern [...] Read more.
Stream degradation increases with high anthropogenic activity and climate variability, while declines occur in biodiversity. However, few studies have been undertaken on tropical waterways, a major impediment to biodiversity conservation. The present study was conducted on 95 relatively pristine small streams in Eastern Thailand with 10 reasonably uncommon species of balitorid fishes. Measurements were made of 21 physical and chemical factors and the substrate particle size. Stepwise regression identified the direct importance of substrate particle size and nitrate on the species’ richness of balitorids, whereas its abundance was negatively related with iron concentrations. A Canonical Correspondence Analysis identified three fish groups: the 1st group was negatively correlated with ammonia and positively correlated with dissolved silica, the 2nd group was positively correlated with substrate particle size and negatively correlated with stream ambient temperature and ammonia concentration, and the 3rd group was negatively correlated with low dissolved silica, respectively. The results of this study may indicate the vulnerability of balitorids under climate warming and anthropogenic pressure that alter the water physicochemical factors and river degradation including the substrate type. Thus, a conservation framework should be provided regarding the limits for water temperature, ammonia, and iron in Thailand’s Water Quality Criteria to better protect its freshwater ecosystem. Balitorid is a potential bioindicator for evaluating the river temperature effect in combination with ammonia nutrient stressors as long as the way-of-life habits of the species are taken into account. Full article
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12 pages, 1537 KiB  
Article
Fish Size Structure as an Indicator of Fish Diversity: A Study of 40 Lakes in Türkiye
by Thomas Boll, Şeyda Erdoğan, Ümmühan Aslan Bıçkı, Nur Filiz, Arda Özen, Eti Ester Levi, Sandra Brucet, Erik Jeppesen and Meryem Beklioğlu
Water 2023, 15(12), 2147; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15122147 - 6 Jun 2023
Viewed by 2104
Abstract
Body size is a master trait in aquatic ecosystems to complement traditional taxonomic diversity measures. Based on a dataset of fish communities from 40 Turkish lakes covering a wide environmental gradient and continental to dry cold steppe to Mediterranean climates, we elucidated the [...] Read more.
Body size is a master trait in aquatic ecosystems to complement traditional taxonomic diversity measures. Based on a dataset of fish communities from 40 Turkish lakes covering a wide environmental gradient and continental to dry cold steppe to Mediterranean climates, we elucidated the key variables controlling size diversity, geometric mean length and number of size classes in the fish community. We further examined how these three size measures were related to species diversity and species richness. A GLM analysis revealed that both size diversity and the number of sizes were strongly related to taxonomic diversity and richness. Furthermore, fish size diversity decreased with decreasing annual precipitation, while the number of size classes increased with increasing lake area but decreased with increasing salinity. The geometric mean length of fish decreased with total nitrogen and increased with altitude. The inter-relatedness between the number of size classes and lake area suggests an increase in fish niches with increasing ecosystem size, while fish are smaller and have fewer size classes in lakes with higher salinity. We conclude that size measures provide valuable integrating information on lake fish diversity; thus, they may complement, but not replace, more traditional taxonomic fish measures. Full article
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22 pages, 4993 KiB  
Article
Fish Beta Diversity Patterns across Environmental Gradients in 63 European Shallow Lakes: Effects of Turbidity, Nutrient Enrichment, and Exotic Species
by Rosemberg Fernandes Menezes, Jens-Christian Svenning, Hui Fu, Luc De Meester, Torben Linding Lauridsen, Martin Søndergaard, José María Conde-Porcuna and Erik Jeppesen
Water 2023, 15(10), 1831; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15101831 - 11 May 2023
Viewed by 2128
Abstract
The beta diversity among lakes is affected by natural environmental sorting, dispersal constraints, and anthropogenic disturbances. We hypothesized that fish beta diversity would increase towards lower latitudes and be higher in less disturbed lakes at within-region scale, but environmental disturbances could affect these [...] Read more.
The beta diversity among lakes is affected by natural environmental sorting, dispersal constraints, and anthropogenic disturbances. We hypothesized that fish beta diversity would increase towards lower latitudes and be higher in less disturbed lakes at within-region scale, but environmental disturbances could affect these patterns due to community homogenization or heterogenization (e.g., gain of exotic species) among lakes. We used generalized dissimilarity modeling to assess the relative importance of geographic distance, climate, and environmental heterogeneity on fish beta diversity across Denmark, Belgium/The Netherlands, and Spain. We also tested whether differences in beta diversity changed between lake types (e.g., clear vs. turbid lakes and lakes with vs. without exotics fish) within-region and across latitude. Beta diversity increased from Denmark to Spain and geographic distance and climate variability were the main drivers of community change across latitude, but the rate of change varied between lake types. At the within-region scale, factors such as turbidity, lake size, and presence of exotics had varying impacts on beta diversity (i.e., increasing, decreasing, or no effect) across the three regions. Our findings suggest that understanding the effects of environmental disturbances on beta diversity requires consideration of both biogeographic and local factors. Full article
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17 pages, 2613 KiB  
Article
Effects of Climate Change on the Habitat Suitability and Distribution of Endemic Freshwater Fish Species in Semi-Arid Central Anatolian Ecoregion in Türkiye
by Mustafa Korkmaz, Fatih Mangıt, İlayda Dumlupınar, Mehmet Arda Çolak, Mustafa Berkay Akpınar, Meltem Koru, Juan Pablo Pacheco, Arely Ramírez-García, Gültekin Yılmaz, Cihelio Alves Amorim, İbrahim Kaan Özgencil, Deniz İnnal, Sedat Vahdet Yerli, Korhan Özkan, Zuhal Akyürek, Meryem Beklioğlu and Erik Jeppesen
Water 2023, 15(8), 1619; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15081619 - 21 Apr 2023
Viewed by 3087
Abstract
Climate change is affecting freshwater ecosystems globally, particularly those in semi-arid and arid regions. The Central Anatolian Ecoregion (CAE) in Türkiye has a semi-arid climate and is home to numerous endemic fish species. We used species distribution modelling to elucidate the distribution of [...] Read more.
Climate change is affecting freshwater ecosystems globally, particularly those in semi-arid and arid regions. The Central Anatolian Ecoregion (CAE) in Türkiye has a semi-arid climate and is home to numerous endemic fish species. We used species distribution modelling to elucidate the distribution of sixteen endemic fish species in CAE and predicted their potential distributions for 2041–2060 and 2081–2100 based on the CMIP6 climate model. Half of the species are predicted to experience a significant loss of climatically suitable areas. Anatolichthys fontinalis, Gobio gymnostethus, Gobio hettitorum, and Pseudophoxinus burduricus will face a complete loss of suitable areas by 2081–2100 under a high emissions climate scenario, whereas Cobitis bilseli, Egirdira nigra, Gobio intermedius, and Squalius anatolicus will experience a significant loss. The other eight species can potentially benefit from climate warming if all other stressors remain equal. Anthropogenic stressors, such as water abstraction for irrigation, pollution, invasive species introductions, and dam construction, are already putting endemic fish populations in CAE under extreme pressure. Climate change is expected to exacerbate these threats. Regular monitoring of freshwater ecosystems and fish fauna in the CAE and protecting the region from key anthropogenic stressors are recommended to successfully conserve these endemic freshwater fishes under climate change. Full article
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19 pages, 2861 KiB  
Article
Diet and Trophic Structure of the Fish Community in a Small Sub-Tropical Lake in Central Mexico
by Arely Ramírez-García, Erik Jeppesen, Rodrigo Moncayo-Estrada, Norman Mercado-Silva and Omar Domínguez-Domínguez
Water 2023, 15(7), 1301; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15071301 - 25 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2221
Abstract
Analyses of trophic structure and feeding habits of the fish community can provide information on the complex biotic and abiotic interactions in lake ecosystems. Based on stomach content and δ13C and δ15N stable isotope analyses, we conducted a comprehensive [...] Read more.
Analyses of trophic structure and feeding habits of the fish community can provide information on the complex biotic and abiotic interactions in lake ecosystems. Based on stomach content and δ13C and δ15N stable isotope analyses, we conducted a comprehensive study of the diet of the fish community and its trophic structure in subtropical Lake Zacapu in central Mexico. Overall, there was good agreement between the results based on the diet and the isotope analysis. Fish diets consisted mainly of aquatic macroinvertebrates, which were abundant in the lake. Most species were secondary consumers and trophic generalists across the four sites and two seasons. The food web structure did not differ significantly between the sites or seasons. Our results suggest a low trophic position of native species having a wide spatial trophic niche and niche width. Trophic diet overlap was greater between native species (especially between species from the same family) than between non-native species. Our study provides new information on the trophic interactions in a subtropical lake, rich in endemic species and an important resource for human communities. Full article
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16 pages, 3411 KiB  
Article
Seasonal Changes in Upper Thermal Tolerances of Freshwater Thai Fishes
by Sampan Tongnunui, Treerat Sooksawat, Charoonroj Chotwiwatthanakun, Weerayuth Supiwong, Amnuay Wattanakornsiri and F. W. H. Beamish
Water 2023, 15(2), 350; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15020350 - 14 Jan 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2256
Abstract
Seasonal change inferred to climate change inevitably influences Critical thermal maximum (CTmax) of riverine fishes. In this study, we investigated CTmax as thermal tolerance for four common riverine fishes, i.e., Danio regina, Channa gachua, Rasbora caudimaculata and Mystacoleucus chilopterus, in the Kwae Noi [...] Read more.
Seasonal change inferred to climate change inevitably influences Critical thermal maximum (CTmax) of riverine fishes. In this study, we investigated CTmax as thermal tolerance for four common riverine fishes, i.e., Danio regina, Channa gachua, Rasbora caudimaculata and Mystacoleucus chilopterus, in the Kwae Noi river system in western Thailand. The acute thermal tolerance was lower in the wet season (mean river temperature ∼25 °C) and higher in the dry season (mean river temperature ∼23 °C) with medians of wet season-CTmax for those four fishes of 35.3 ± 0.4, 36.2 ± 0.5, 37.3 ± 0.5 and 37.5 ± 0.6 °C, respectively, and high values of dry season-CTmax of 37.4 ± 0.5, 38.3 ± 0.5, 38.7 ± 0.7 and 39.1 ± 0.5 °C, respectively. The variations of CTmax for all of the four species in this study, throughout the wet and dry seasons, attribute to their seasonal plasticity in response to the dynamics of thermal stress. Under climate variability and climate change with increasing the higher temperatures of air and river, and altering the habitat, R. caudimaculata and M. chilopterus had higher capacities to tolerate the acute heat stress across wet and dry seasons. Full article
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19 pages, 4490 KiB  
Article
Past and Present Environmental Factors Differentially Influence Genetic and Morphological Traits of Italian Barbels (Pisces: Cyprinidae)
by Silvia Quadroni, Vanessa De Santis, Antonella Carosi, Isabella Vanetti, Serena Zaccara and Massimo Lorenzoni
Water 2023, 15(2), 325; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15020325 - 12 Jan 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2521
Abstract
Local adaptation and phenotypic plasticity can lead to environment-related morphological and genetic variations in freshwater fish. Studying the responses of fish to environmental changes is crucial to understand their vulnerability to human-induced changes. Here, we used a latitudinal gradient as a proxy for [...] Read more.
Local adaptation and phenotypic plasticity can lead to environment-related morphological and genetic variations in freshwater fish. Studying the responses of fish to environmental changes is crucial to understand their vulnerability to human-induced changes. Here, we used a latitudinal gradient as a proxy for past and present environmental factors and tested its influences on both genetic and morphological patterns. We selected as a suitable biogeographic model, the barbels, which inhabit 17 Adriatic basins of the central-southern Italian Peninsula, and explored association among attributes from genetic, morphological, and environmental analyses. The analysis of the mitochondrial DNA control region evidenced a southward significant increase in the number of private haplotypes, supporting the isolation of the southernmost populations related to the Mio-Pleistocene events. In contrast, morphology was mainly affected by changes in the present environmental conditions. Particularly, the number of scales and fish coloration were clearly associated to latitude, and thus thermal and hydrological conditions. Other morphometric and functional traits varied under the selective pressure of other environmental factors like elevation and distance from headwater. These results highlight the sensitivity of barbels to climate changes, which can serve as a basis for future eco-evolutionary and conservation studies. Full article
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20 pages, 2160 KiB  
Article
Environmentally Realistic Waterborne Atrazine Exposure Affects Behavior in Poecilia latipinna
by R. David MacLaren
Water 2023, 15(2), 306; https://doi.org/10.3390/w15020306 - 11 Jan 2023
Viewed by 2065
Abstract
The present study examined the effects of environmentally realistic exposure to atrazine (ATZ) on the behavior of sailfin mollies, Poecilia latipinna. ATZ is one of the most commonly used pesticides in the US and a known endocrine disrupting chemical (EDC). The behavior [...] Read more.
The present study examined the effects of environmentally realistic exposure to atrazine (ATZ) on the behavior of sailfin mollies, Poecilia latipinna. ATZ is one of the most commonly used pesticides in the US and a known endocrine disrupting chemical (EDC). The behavior of sailfin mollies is well documented in the scientific literature. Moreover, they are ecologically important indicators of environmental health, widely distributed among the mangroves along the Gulf Coast of the Southeastern US where significant amounts of ATZ are introduced via runoff and storm water drainage from coastal households, businesses, and farms. Four sets of experiments designed to assess ATZ’s impact on various aspects of male and female reproductive behavior, aggression, anxiety, and boldness were conducted following 12 weeks of exposure to 1 or 15 ppb water-borne ATZ, along with a no-exposure control group. Results indicated that the behavior of ATZ-exposed individuals differed from those of controls: ATZ exposure affected which stimulus fish (a male vs. a female) subject females preferred to associate with while also affecting female strength of preference for males of larger body size and their sexual receptivity to conspecific males in general. ATZ-exposed males also showed reduced overall responsiveness to conspecific stimuli and directed significantly less aggression toward their mirror image compared with controls. Finally, ATZ exposure affected multiple aspects of male and female behavior that are often used as proxies for boldness and anxiety. Overall, ATZ exposure resulted in alterations across a variety of behaviors attributed to sexual receptivity, mate choice and motivation to mate, aggression, as well as boldness and anxiety. These ATZ-induced behavioral changes may adversely affect the long-term health of natural populations exposed to similar, environmentally realistic concentrations and add to a growing body of empirical data demonstrating substantial fitness consequences of exposure to sublethal concentrations of this known EDC. Full article
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12 pages, 2067 KiB  
Article
Occurrence of microplastics in Fish from Mendoza River: First Insights into Plastic Pollution in the Central Andes, Argentina
by Juan Manuel Ríos, Franco Teixeira de Mello, Bárbara De Feo, Evelyn Krojmal, Camila Vidal, Veronica Andrea Loza-Argote and Erica Elizabeth Scheibler
Water 2022, 14(23), 3905; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14233905 - 1 Dec 2022
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 3362
Abstract
The widespread use of plastic products in our modern life represents a serious threat to aquatic environments and wild animals that are exposed to plastic waste. Although microplastics (MPs) have been reported in fish from several freshwater environments around the world, mountain environments [...] Read more.
The widespread use of plastic products in our modern life represents a serious threat to aquatic environments and wild animals that are exposed to plastic waste. Although microplastics (MPs) have been reported in fish from several freshwater environments around the world, mountain environments have been little studied so far. The occurrence of MPs was assessed in the gastrointestinal tracts (GITs) of non-native (rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss and brown trout Salmo trutta) and native (torrent catfish Hatcheria macraei) fish from the Mendoza River in the Central Andes, Argentina. Fibers (85%) were the main MPs type recovered from the fish here analyzed, followed by fragments (15%). Blue fibers were the main type of MPs in analyzed specimens: brown trout (50%), rainbow trout (71%), and torrent catfish (63%). Significant differences in the median total MPs’ abundance and median total fiber abundance were observed among fish species. The highest MPs’ abundance was found in the GITs of brown trout followed by rainbow trout, while the lowest was found in the GITs of torrent catfish. This study represents a baseline for the occurrence and characteristics in terms of shape and color of MPs in freshwater fish collected from a mountain river of the Central Andes. Full article
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16 pages, 2241 KiB  
Article
Aquatic Macrophytes Shape the Foraging Efficiency, Trophic Niche Breadth, and Overlap among Small Fish in a Neotropical River
by Bárbara Angélio Quirino, Sidinei Magela Thomaz, Erik Jeppesen, Martin Søndergaard, Mário Sérgio Dainez-Filho and Rosemara Fugi
Water 2022, 14(21), 3543; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14213543 - 4 Nov 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1961
Abstract
Aquatic macrophytes are generally recognized to influence fish–prey interactions. We assessed how fish consume particular foods, and how their foraging efficiency, trophic niche breadth, and niche overlap respond to gradients of macrophyte density and diversity. We sampled fish and macrophytes in 30 stands [...] Read more.
Aquatic macrophytes are generally recognized to influence fish–prey interactions. We assessed how fish consume particular foods, and how their foraging efficiency, trophic niche breadth, and niche overlap respond to gradients of macrophyte density and diversity. We sampled fish and macrophytes in 30 stands distributed over a 13.7 km stretch of the littoral zone of a river in Brazil. By generating generalized linear models, we showed that increasing macrophyte density (from 366 to 7066 g DW m−3) favored herbivory and fish foraging efficiency. Beta regressions showed that fish reduced their trophic niche breadth along the gradient of macrophyte density, while niche overlap increased until a certain extent of plant density when species started to segregate the niche more strongly. However, niche breadth responses varied according to the trophic guild considered, with omnivorous and herbivorous fish generally showing opposite responses. Macrophyte diversity was important for the preferred food items of the fish, with stomach contents shifting from higher plants, algae, and detritus to insects with increasing macrophyte diversity. Therefore, in addition to the presumable effects of macrophyte density on resource availability and prey encounter rates, our findings highlight the importance of maintaining diverse macrophyte stands for the conservation of fish diversity. Full article
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