Life history theory predicts long-term fish assemblage response to stream impoundment Academic Article uri icon


  • Life history theory predictions for hydrologic filtering of fish assemblages are rarely tested with historical time series data. We retrospectively analyzed flow regime and fish assemblage data from the Sabine River, USA, to test relationships between life history strategies and hydrologic variability altered by impoundment construction. Downstream flow variability, but not magnitude, was altered by completion of Toledo Bend Reservoir (TBR) in 1966. Consistent with life history theory, occurrence of opportunistic strategists declined while equilibrium strategists increased as the fish assemblage was transformed between periods immediately after (19671973) and approximately one decade after (19791982) completion of TBR. Assemblage transformation was related to decline of opportunistic strategists throughout 250 km of river downstream of TBR. Temporal trajectories for opportunistic and intermediate strategist richness modelled as a function of flow variability converged 12 years postimpoundment. The spatiotemporal scaling of our study is novel among tests of life history theory, and results suggest impoundment-induced alteration to natural hydrologic filtering of fish assemblages can operate on the scale of hundreds of stream kilometres and manifest within approximately one decade.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Perkin, J. S., Knorp, N. E., Boersig, T. C., Gebhard, A. E., Hix, L. A., & Johnson, T. C.

citation count

  • 17

complete list of authors

  • Perkin, Joshuah S||Knorp, Natalie E||Boersig, Thomas C||Gebhard, Amy E||Hix, Lucas A||Johnson, Thomas C

publication date

  • July 2017