From: University of Washington
Published February 21, 2017 04:41 PM

Winners, losers among fish when landscape undergoes change

As humans build roads, construct buildings and develop land for agriculture, freshwater ecosystems respond - but not always in the ways one might expect.

A new study by the University of Washington and Simon Fraser University finds that some fish lose out while others benefit as urban and agricultural development encroaches on streams and rivers across the United States. Having a diversity of species, each with different land-use sensitivities and ecological functions, helps buffer ecosystems from failing in the face of development. The findings were published online in December in Global Change Biology.

“Human activities operating across the landscape don’t randomly impact biodiversity, that is, species survival is not determined by a flip of the coin. Species have different traits and ecologies that determine their sensitivity environmental change,” said co-author Julian Olden, a UW associate professor of aquatic and fishery sciences.

“Our research suggests that every player in a community is important, to varying degrees, for ecosystem functioning into the future.”

Read more at University of Washington

Photo: Dave Herasimtschuk/Freshwaters Illustrated

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