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Georgia Journal of Science

Article Title

FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO REINTRODUCTION SUCCESS OF NATIVE FRESHWATER FISHES IN SOUTHERN APPALACHIA

Abstract

The Southern Appalachia region has high endemic fish diversity, but many native fish populations are being extirpated by various causes. Efforts to reintroduce and recover fish populations to their historical ranges have been conducted, but specific factors contributing to reproductive success or failure is not well known. We performed a meta-analysis of 30 published, peer-reviewed studies and constructed univariate and multivariate generalized linear models based upon eight factors to predict the probability of reintroduction success. Results suggest that the probability of reintroduction success is mostly strongly affected by the original cause of extirpation (P=0.0233). Multivariate models indicated that stream substrate, habitat, and stream order are also strong predictors of success. Fishes preferring gravel substrates had a much lower predicted probability of success (0.38) than all other substrates (>0.80). Larger streams (>6 orders) had low predicted probability of success (0.09 – 0.19) than smaller streams (0.60 – 0.78). Thus, our models suggest that reintroduction failure is likely for fishes that utilize gravel substrates inhabiting larger streams. Our results can be used in prioritizing extant fishes that are currently threatened with extirpation and focus conservation efforts on those fishes that are not likely to be reintroduced successfully.

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