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The influence of discharge, current speed, and development on the downstream dispersal of larval nase (Chondrostoma nasus) in the River Danube

Lechner, Aaron, Keckeis, Hubert, Glas, Martin, Tritthart, Michael, Habersack, Helmut, Andorfer, Laurin, Humphries, Paul
Canadian journal of fisheries and aquatic sciences 2018 v.75 no.2 pp. 247-259
Chondrostoma nasus, carp, larvae, river flow, rivers, Austria, Danube River
We investigated the mode (active versus passive) of larval downstream dispersal and its influencing factors in the nase carp (Chondrostoma nasus). Marked larvae (early and later stages), together with equivalent numbers of passive particles, were released in the main channel of the River Danube (Austria) at different flow (low, high) and current (over-critical, under-critical) conditions. Larvae and particles were recaptured with stationary nets at varying distances from release. We assumed that differences in the spatial dispersal patterns between larvae and particles were due to fish activity. We hypothesized that river discharge, developmental stage, current speed, and distance from release would influence these differences. We found that activity was independent of developmental stage or current speed at release, although activity was higher during low flow conditions. It may be that larvae deliberately enter the current during low flow, because the hydraulic conditions facilitate active dispersal. Furthermore, activity was greatest near the release site. This might be due to an intrinsically greater activity when fish are placed into novel surroundings or a result of rheoreaction. The discharge-dependent dispersal patterns observed represent an important ecological link between flow and recruitment and demonstrate the importance of inshore conditions for the early life stages of fish in large rivers, especially with regard to river modification and restoration schemes.