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Fish Faunal Structure in an Ozark Stream: Stability, Persistence and a Catastrophic Flood

William J. Matthews
Copeia
Vol. 1986, No. 2 (May 9, 1986), pp. 388-397
DOI: 10.2307/1444997
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1444997
Page Count: 10
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Abstract

In December 1982, widespread, physically catastrophic flooding occurred in the Ozark Mountains of northern Arkansas. In the Piney Creek watershed (Izard County), flooding resulted in an immediate change in rank order abundance of numerically dominant fishes and moderate alteration in composition of the entire fauna. At badly scoured locations, local assemblages of fishes were markedly altered. These changes in the fish fauna of Piney Creek exceeded seasonal changes in the fishes that were found in an earlier, non-flood year. The Piney Creek fish fauna showed rapid recovery from the flood, however, and by August 1983, eight months later, the total fish fauna and the local fish assemblages closely resembled those of August 1982, before the flood. Comprehensive sampling of the watershed in 1972, 1973, 1981 (in part), 1982 and 1983 suggests that the fish fauna was stable (via elasticity) and persistent across years, seasons and a drastic flood.

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