Response of crayfish to hyporheic water availability and excess sedimentation
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Crayfish in many headwater streams regularly cope with seasonal drought. However, it is unclear how landscape changes affect the long-term persistence of crayfish populations. We designed two laboratory experiments to investigate the acute effects of common landscape stressors on crayfish: water withdrawal and sedimentation. The first experiment tested the interaction among water withdrawals (four 24-h water reductions of 0, 15, 30, or 45 cm) and two substrate treatments (pebble and cobble) on the burrowing depth of crayfish. The second experiment evaluated the effects of excess fine sediment (three treatments of 0, 45, and 90% sediment) and substrate type (cobble and pebble) on crayfish burrowing depth. Crayfish were able to burrow deeper into the simulated hyporheic zone in cobble substrate when compared to pebble. Crayfish subjected to greater water withdrawals in the pebble treatment were not able to reach the simulated hyporheic zone. Excess fine sediment reduced the depth that crayfish burrowed, regardless of substrate type. Results from this study suggest excess fine sediment may reduce crayfish persistence, particularly when seeking refuge during prolonged dry conditions.
KeywordsStream drying Fine sediment Substrate Land use
This research is a contribution of the Oklahoma Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit (U.S. Geological Survey, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, Oklahoma State University, and Wildlife Management Institute cooperating). Funding was provided by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (F11AF00031). We thank Michi Tobler for the thoughtful comments on earlier versions of the manuscript. Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.
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