Tracing spatial and temporal scales in aquatic connectivity PDF Print E-mail

Tracing spatial and temporal scales in aquatic connectivity using novel approaches

 

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Project overview

 

Connectivity among different parts of the aquatic landscape and between different sub-populations of a species is often critical for the long-term survival of the species in a region. Connectivity among different subpopulations of a species is important in the medium term for maintaining genetic diversity within populations and for repopulating areas following local extinctions or depletion. Connectivity within the landscape may also be very important in the short term, for example in order for an animal to complete its life-cycle, it may need to migrate between river and floodplain or between marine and freshwater. Finally, individuals may need to move between parts of the aquatic landscape on a daily basis for foraging or other activities. Many methods have been used to assess the levels and patterns of connectivity for a species, but often only one method, or at most two methods are combined in a particular study.  Commonly used methods include mark and recapture approaches, molecular markers, stable isotope analysis, micro-chemical analyses of hard parts, such as otoliths and population re-colonisation following disturbances.  All these approaches can give information about connectivity within a landscape, but it is likely that novel combinations of these techniques will provide more biologically relevant information at appropriate scales.

In this workshop, we will bring together leaders in a range of these technical approaches to come up with synthetic approaches to address questions of landscape connectivity, and to assess the strengths, weakness, and purviews of the different methods.  Furthermore, we wish to include both marine and freshwater scientists, in an attempt to provide a broad overview of techniques and to produce a synthesis of ideas that will be presented in the form of a manuscript for an international journal.

 

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David Sternberg measures catfish (Tandanus tandanus) from the Mary River

 

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Haile Tariku using ABI 3130 DNA Fragment Analyser

 

For further information about this group, please contact the Principal Investigators, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

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Workshop Report (29 - 31 January 2013)

Connectivity among different parts of the aquatic landscape and between different sub-populations of a species is often critical for the long-term survival of the species in a region.  Many different methods have been used to assess the levels and patterns of connectivity for a species, but often only one method, or at most two methods are combined in a particular study. Different approaches can give information about connectivity within a landscape, but it is likely that novel combinations of these techniques will provide more biologically relevant information at appropriate scales.

The aim of this workshop was to use an integrative approach to coming up with the best combination of approaches to address a set of general ecological questions and to propose how the answers can be used in managing aquatic systems to maintain optimal patterns of connectivity for a species.

In January 2013, seventeen invited participants met through ACEAS’s targeted workshops program on beautiful North Stradbroke Island off the coast of Brisbane to discuss the importance of connectivity in maintaining population viability in the context of existing and emerging anthropogenic disturbances, and the new tools becoming available to meet these challenges.

As it happened, “connectivity” between the island and mainland became very difficult as ex-cyclone Oswald battered the area and closed down the ferry service for a time. Despite this extreme weather event, the workshop went ahead.

The workshop attendees were a very international group, coming from research institutions in Canada, Denmark, Hungary, the United Kingdom and the United States, with Australian representatives from the Northern Territory, Queensland and South Australia.

In line with the interdisciplinary nature of the meeting, the group’s expertise was very varied, including population genetics, stable isotope analysis, otolith microchemical analysis, population ecology, quantitative ecology, modelling, amongst others, with many of the attendees experienced across a number of fields. The group also has experience across different kinds of aquatic environments, including open-ocean, near shore coasts, estuaries, rivers and lakes.

On the first day of the workshop, participants presented their particular slant on connectivity and then introduced more general questions for later discussion. Over the following days, key focus groups and the group as a whole explored and synthesised existing knowledge of connectivity research and identified particular issues, environments and questions that warranted inclusion in the subsequent journal publication.  

The aim of our journal paper is to use a series of examples and case studies to explore the emerging issues relating to connectivity and the methods that may be employed to meet these challenges into the future. The focus will be on movement of organisms in the landscape.

Five main issues were identified: river flow regulation, habitat alteration and loss, human assisted spread of organisms, fisheries exploitation and climate change. The different themes are often closely linked and interact with each other, such as flow regulation through dams leading to habitat alteration.

Particular examples will be best studied with a particular method, for example stable isotopes, and others with a combination of methods, often including newly emerging methods, such as environmental DNA.  The paper will identify new and innovative approaches to address each of these emerging issues and will be submitted to a big impact journal.

 

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Tracing spatial and temporal scales in aquatic connectivity using novel approaches Workshop 1 participants Left to right: Chris Harrod (Queen's University Belfast & University de Antofagasta, Chile), Tim Page (Griffith University), Virgilio Hermoso-Lopez (Griffith University), David Crook (Charles Darwin University), Deb Finn (Oregon State University), Jane Hughes (Griffith University), Ivan Nagelkerken (University of Adelaide), Raouf Kilada (University of New Brunswick (Saint John)), Tibor Eros (Balaton Limnological Institute, Hungary), Brian Fry (Griffith University), Bronwyn Gillanders (University of Adelaide), Simon Jennings (CEFAS, University of East Anglia), Cynthia Riginos (University of Queensland), Michael Moller Hansen (Aarhus University), Frederick Allendorf (University of Montana), and Winsor Lowe (University of Montana). Absent: Wade Hadwen (Griffith University).

 

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Tracing spatial and temporal scales in aquatic connectivity using novel approaches workshop

 

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Last Updated on Sunday, 08 February 2015 15:38