University of Oulu

Alessandro Manfrin, Sven Teurlincx, Armin W. Lorenz, Peter Haase, Maare Marttila, Jukka T. Syrjänen, Gregor Thomas, Stefan Stoll, Effect of river restoration on life-history strategies in fish communities, Science of The Total Environment, Volume 663, 2019, Pages 486-495, ISSN 0048-9697,

Effect of river restoration on life-history strategies in fish communities

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Author: Manfrin, Alessandro1,2; Teurlincx, Sven3; Lorenz, Armin W.2;
Organizations: 1University of Applied Sciences Trier, Environmental Campus Birkenfeld, P.O. Box 1380, 55761 Birkenfeld, Germany
2University of Duisburg-Essen, Faculty of Biology, Universitätsstrasse 5, 45141 Essen, Germany
3Netherlands Institute of Ecology, Department of Aquatic Ecology, Droevendaalsesteeg 10, 6708 PB Wageningen, the Netherlands
4Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum Frankfurt, Department of River Ecology and Conservation, Clamecystrasse 12, 63571 Gelnhausen, Germany
5Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Natural Resources, Paavo Havaksen tie 3, FI-90014 Oulu, Finland
6University of Oulu, Ecology and Genetics Research Unit, P.O. Box 8000, FI-90014 Oulu, Finland
7Lapland Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment, P.O. Box 8060, FI-96101 Rovaniemi, Finland
8Department of Biological and Environmental Science, University of Jyväskylä, P.O. Box 35, FI-40014 Jyväskylä, Finland
9Federal Office for the Environment, Water Division, Papiermühlestrasse 172, 3063 Ittigen, Switzerland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.4 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2019
Publish Date: 2021-01-19


Assessments of river restoration outcomes are mostly based on taxonomic identities of species, which may not be optimal because a direct relationship to river functions remains obscure and results are hardly comparable across biogeographic borders. The use of ecological species trait information instead of taxonomic units may help to overcome these challenges.

Abundance data for fish communities were gathered from 134 river restoration projects conducted in Switzerland, Germany and Finland, monitored for up to 15 years. These data were related to a dataset of 22 categories of ecological traits describing fish life-history strategies to assess the outcome of the restoration projects.

Restoration increased trait functional diversity and evenness in projects that were situated in the potamal zone of rivers. Restoration effect increased with the length of the restored river reaches. In areas with low levels of anthropogenic land use, the peak of the restoration effect was reached already within one to five years after the restoration and effect receded thereafter, while communities responded later in areas with higher levels of anthropogenic land use.

In the lower potamal zone, a shift towards opportunistic life-history strategists was observed. In the upper rhithral zone, in contrast, species with an opportunistic life-history strategy increased only in the first five years of restoration, followed by a shift towards equilibrium strategists at restorations older than 5 years. This pattern was more pronounced in rivers with higher level of anthropogenic land use and longer restored river reaches. Restoration reduced the variability in community trait composition between river reaches suggesting that community trait composition within these zones converges when rivers are restored.

This study showed how ecological traits are suitable to analyse restoration outcomes and how such an approach can be used for the evaluation and comparison of environmental management actions across geographical regions.

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Series: Science of the total environment
ISSN: 0048-9697
ISSN-E: 1879-1026
ISSN-L: 0048-9697
Volume: 663
Pages: 486 - 495
DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.01.330
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Funding: This study was financially supported by the Bauer-Stiftung zur Förderung von Wissenschaft und Forschung (Grant ID: T0237/28255/2016/KG) and Rudolf and Helene Glaser-Stiftung.
Copyright information: © 2019 Elsevier B.V. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license