|Title||Patterns in fish assemblages in the Loire floodplain: The role of hydrological connectivity and implications for conservation|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2007|
|Authors||Lasne, E, Lek, S, Laffaille, P|
Hydrological connectivity is known to determine biodiversity patterns across large river floodplains, but it is often greatly altered by human activities. indicators and predictors of the response of river alteration or restoration are therefore needed. Recent papers suggested that fish environmental guilds - based on species flow preferences - could be used as a tool to assess ecological status of rivers. In the Loire floodplain, we described fish assemblages across the floodplain at the onset of the dry season and we determined whether observed spatial patterns could be related to environmental variables, especially connectivity. Based on specific composition of 46 electrofished waterbodies, a hierarchical typology of the Loire floodplain assemblages was built using self-organizing maps. Each assemblage of the typology was characterized by a set of species using the indicator value method. These species sets and the composition of the assemblages revealed a gradient of flow preferences in the different assemblages identified. A stepwise discriminant analysis showed that the most important variable determining assemblage composition was the hydrological connectivity. Finally, the conclusion was made that a high connectivity level is needed to conserve native fish diversity in the Loire floodplain, notably because the number of protected and native species increased with connectivity, and because the number of exotic species increased with isolation. (C) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.