Will fencing floodplain and riverine wetlands from feral pig damage conserve fish community values?

Waltham, Nathan, and Schaffer, Jason (2021) Will fencing floodplain and riverine wetlands from feral pig damage conserve fish community values? Ecology and Evolution, 11 (20). pp. 13780-13792.

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Abstract

Installation of feral pig (Sus scrofa) exclusion fences to conserve and rehabilitate coastal floodplain habitat for fish production and water quality services remains untested. Twenty-one floodplain and riverine wetlands in the Archer River catchment (north Queensland) were surveyed during postwet (June–August) and late-dry season (November–December) in 2016, 2017, and 2018, using a fyke net soaked overnight (~14–15 hr) to test: (a) whether the fish assemblage are similar in wetlands with and without fences; and (b) whether specific environmental conditions influence fish composition between fenced and unfenced wetlands. A total of 6,353 fish representing twenty-six species from 15 families were captured. There were no wetland differences in fish assemblages across seasons, years and for fenced and unfenced (PERMANOVA, Pseudo-F < 0.589, p < .84). Interestingly, the late-dry season fish were far smaller compared to postwet season fish: a strategy presumably in place to maximize rapid disposal following rain and floodplain connectivity. In each wetland, a calibrated Hydrolab was deployed (between 2 and4 days, with 20 min logging) in the epilimnion (0.2 m) and revealed distinct diel water quality cycling of temperature, dissolved oxygen and pH (conductivity represented freshwater wetlands), which was more obvious in the late-dry season survey because of extreme summer conditions. Water quality varied among wetlands in terms of the daily amplitude and extent of daily photosynthesis recovery, which highlights the need to consider local conditions and that applying general assumptions around water quality conditions for these types of wetlands is problematic for managers. Though many fish access wetlands during wet season connection, the seasonal effect of reduced water level conditions seems more overimprovised when compared to whether fences are installed, as all wetlands supported few, juvenile, or no fish species because they had dried completely regardless of the presence of fences.

Item ID: 73250
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2045-7758
Keywords: connectivity, exclusion fences, feral pigs, floodplains, restoration, tropical wetlands
Copyright Information: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Date Deposited: 07 Apr 2022 03:39
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310304 Freshwater ecology @ 40%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310302 Community ecology (excl. invasive species ecology) @ 20%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410404 Environmental management @ 40%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1803 Fresh, ground and surface water systems and management > 180301 Assessment and management of freshwater ecosystems @ 40%
18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1803 Fresh, ground and surface water systems and management > 180303 Fresh, ground and surface water biodiversity @ 20%
18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1803 Fresh, ground and surface water systems and management > 180307 Rehabilitation or conservation of fresh, ground and surface water environments @ 40%
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