Do small barriers affect the movement of freshwater fish by increasing residency?

Sci Total Environ. 2017 Mar 1;581-582:486-494. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.12.156. Epub 2017 Jan 10.


River fragmentation due to artificial barriers directly impacts fish communities by limiting migratory movements. This work aims to understand how small barriers affect the movements of a potamodromous cyprinid species - the Iberian barbel (Luciobarbus bocagei (Steindachner, 1864)) - in a 5.6km upstream segment of a stream impacted only by the presence of physical barriers. Fish were marked with Visible Implant Elastomer tags (VIE), and barriers were seasonally characterized. A total of 683 fish were tagged, with 104 recaptures, during five sampling seasons (spring 2012 - early summer 2013). Eleven of the recaptured fish moved past a barrier, without any preference in terms of direction of movement. There were no differences in length, either between migrants and residents, or between upstream and downstream migrants. The results show that although barbel are able to negotiate small barriers, part of the population did not move between fragmented reaches - an indication that under such conditions, fish species populations may adjust their life-history strategy to augment residency as it was hypothesized from the results.

Keywords: Barrier negotiation; Fish migration; Partial migration; Potamodromous fish; VIE-tags.

MeSH terms

  • Animal Migration*
  • Animals
  • Cyprinidae*
  • Rivers*
  • Seasons