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Keywords:

  • AIC;
  • Catostomidae;
  • age 0 fishes;
  • notchlip redhorse;
  • robust redhorse;
  • river discharge

ABSTRACT

Robust redhorse (Moxostoma robustum) and notchlip redhorse (M. collapsum) are two species of redhorses that reside in the lower Oconee River, Georgia. Robust redhorse is listed as a state endangered species in Georgia and North Carolina, and attempts to investigate factors affecting its reproductive success have met with limited success. Therefore, catch of robust redhorse young were combined with catch of notchlip redhorse to increase sample size. These congeners with similar spawning repertoire were assumed to respond similarly to environmental conditions. River discharge during spawning and rearing seasons may affect abundance of both redhorses in the lower Oconee River. An information-theoretic approach was used to evaluate the relative support of models relating abundance of age 0 redhorses to monthly discharge statistics that represented magnitude, timing, duration, variability and frequency of river discharge events for April through June 1995–2006. The best-approximating model indicated a negative relationship between the abundance of redhorses and mean maximum river discharge and the number of high pulses during June as well as a positive relationship with intermediate duration of low flows during April–June. This model is 9.6 times more plausible than the next best-fitting model, which revealed a negative relationship between the abundance of redhorses and mean maximum river discharge during May and the number of high pulses during June as well as a positive relationship between abundance and intermediate duration of low flows during April–June. Management implications from the results indicate low-stable flows for at least a 2-week period during spawning and rearing may increase reproductive success of robust and notchlip redhorses. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.