Minimum viable population size and population growth rate of freshwater fishes and their relationships with life history traits.
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The minimum viable population (MVP) size has been compared for a wide range of organisms in conservation biology, but a limited number of studies investigated it for freshwater fishes, which exhibit diverse life history strategies. In this study, the MVP size and population growth rate of 36 fish species in the Yangtze River were estimated and compared with their life-history traits. The results indicated that the MVP size ranged from 42 to 320 individuals, and instantaneous per-capita population growth rate ranged from 0.009 to 0.188 per year. MVP size and population growth rate were significantly associated with three life history traits: the age at maturity, generation time, and fecundity. Long-lived species with delayed maturation, long generation time, and high fecundity had a greater MVP size and a lower population growth rate than short-lived species. Therefore, our results emphasize a need for prioritizing our conservation effort more on long-lived species.