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Contrasting effects of dams with and without reservoirs on the population density of an amphidromous goby in southwestern Japan

Yoshifumi Sumizaki, Ryota Kawanishi, Mikio Inoue, Motohiro Takagi, Koji Omori
Ichthyological research 2019 v.66 no.3 pp. 319-329
Rhinogobius, dams (hydrology), diadromous fish, freshwater fish, geographical distribution, hatching, juveniles, lakes, larvae, population density, rivers, streams, surface water, surveys, water storage, weirs, Japan
Dam construction affects the distribution and abundance of freshwater fishes, particularly for diadromous species. Amphidromous fishes spawn in rivers, and hatched larvae descend to the sea (or standing water body such as lakes) immediately after hatching, grow there typically for a few months, and then ascend rivers as small juveniles. Landlocked populations of amphidromous fishes above dams and their migration between dam reservoirs and inlet streams (landlocked migration) have often been reported. In these cases, population density in the inlet streams may be increased by dam reservoirs, owing to reduced migration distance, which results in higher return rates. On the other hand, dams without reservoirs do not promote landlocked migration and merely act as a barrier to their upstream migration, resulting in decreased population density. In this study, we examined such contrasting effects of dams with and without reservoirs on the population density of an amphidromous goby, Rhinogobius fluviatilis, in two river systems (the Shigenobu and Yoshino Rivers) of Shikoku Island, Japan. In the Shigenobu River, where more than 300 sediment-control dams and weirs (barriers without reservoirs) have been installed, our analysis showed that the goby density decreased sharply with increasing the number of barriers higher than or equal to 2 m. On the other hand, in the Yoshino River, where we investigated both landlocked populations above water storage dams (with reservoirs) and non-landlocked populations in tributaries without water storage dams, the analysis showed that the goby density increased with decreasing the distance from standing water body (i.e. the sea or dam reservoirs). Furthermore, monthly surveys at sites above and below a water storage dam showed that the recruitment of ascending juveniles above the dam was more abundant and seasonally earlier than that below the dam, probably owing to reduced migration distance and increased return rates. Our results have implications for understanding how dams alter natural distribution patterns of amphidromous fishes.