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Keywords:

  • 0+ fishes;
  • floodplains;
  • lowland rivers;
  • phytoplankton;
  • rehabilitation;
  • zooplankton

Abstract

Floodplain waterbodies are reputed to enhance recruitment of riverine fish populations via provision of spawning and nursery habitat, refuge from floods, and increased availability of planktonic food resources compared with main river channels. Notwithstanding, there have been few parallel studies of fishes and their food resources at both main river and floodplain sites. Thus, this study investigated the 0+ fishes, zooplankton and phytoplankton (chlorophyll a) at four main river and four (man-made) floodplain sites on the lower River Trent, England, between May 1999 and October 2004 inclusive. All sites shared the same key fish species, and there were no consistent differences in the densities, growth or condition of 0+ fishes from main river and floodplain sites. Similarly, all sites shared the same key zooplankton taxa. However, zooplankton densities, notably of large-bodied cladocerans, and chlorophyll a concentrations, were significantly higher at floodplain sites than at main river sites. Thus, connection of man-made waterbodies has the potential to enhance recruitment of riverine fish populations via provision of important spawning and nursery habitat, and superior feeding opportunities for 0+ fishes compared with main river channels. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.