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Tuesday, April 10 • 10:00am - 10:15am
AQUATIC, COASTAL AND MARINE ANIMALS: Understanding Influences of Landscape on Aquatic Fauna Across the Central and Southern Appalachians

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AUTHORS: R. Daniel Hanks*, Clemson University; Paul B. Leonard, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; Robert F. Baldwin, Clemson University

ABSTRACT: Understanding influences of multiple stressors across the landscape on aquatic biota is important for conservation, as it allows for an understanding of spatial patterns and informs stake holders of geographic areas of significant conservation value. Data exists for landuse/landcover (LULC) and other physicochemical components of the landscape throughout the Appalachian region yet biological data is sparse. This dearth of biological data relative to LULC and physicochemical data creates difficulties in making informed management and conservation decisions across large landscapes. At the HUC12 watershed scale we sought to create a single score for both abiotic and biotic values throughout the region. We used boosted regression trees (BRT) to model biological responses (fish and aquatic macroinvertebrate variables) to abiotic variables. Variance explained by BRT models ranged from 62-94%. We utilized relative importance values of predictor variables from BRT models to weight the abiotic variables, creating a single watershed score to reflect watershed quality for aquatic fauna. We combined predicted values from BRT models to create a single watershed score for aquatic macroinvertebrates, fish, and aquatic macroinvertebrates and fish together. Use of such multimetric scores can inform managers, NGOs, and private land owners regarding landuse practices; thereby contributing to largescale landscape conservation efforts.

Tuesday April 10, 2018 10:00am - 10:15am CDT
LaSalle 1 (7th Floor)

Attendees (7)