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5 March 2015 Comparison of Historical and Recent Fish Distribution Patterns in Oklahoma and Western Arkansas
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Abstract

In the past century and a half, surface waters in the lower Great Plains have been impacted by numerous factors related to human settlement and development of the region including construction of reservoirs, which have been well documented to have negative effects on stream fish communities. In Oklahoma, by 1925 there were only seven artificial impoundments (of 36–970 hectares), but by 2007 there were 146 impoundments in the state lake registry ranging up to 42,000 hectares. Most were built from the 1930s to the 1970s. We examined historic and recent distribution patterns of fishes in Oklahoma and western Arkansas using data from 86 collections made by A. I. Ortenburger from 1925–1927 and from 381 collections we made from 1975–2009 in the same region, to ask if faunal changes were apparent following the era of dam construction. Although exact sites in the 1920s and in 1975–2009 were not identical, there were collections in 14 Hydrologic Units (HUCs as identified by eight-digit Hydrologic Unit Codes) in the two periods that we considered comparable. At the regional level, we asked whether species collected in 1925–1927 were still present in 1975–2009. For the 25 most-common species in the 1925–1927 collections we also compared patterns of species associations (co-occurrences) in the two time periods. At the level of the 14 shared HUCs, we compared faunal composition of each HUC across time (based on the 25 common species) and examined the faunal similarity among HUCs in both time periods. We also examined occurrences of the 25 common species within individual HUCs over time as well as patterns of species associations across HUCs in the two periods. At the regional level, 81 of the 95 species collected in 1925–1927 were found by us in 1975–2009, and species association patterns were congruent across both collecting eras, suggesting that overall patterns of community composition were similar and that broad zoogeographic patterns of species distributions did not change between the two periods. At the level of the 14 HUCs, faunal composition in 1975–2009 was 76% to 100% similar with respect to species present in 1925–1927 in ten of the HUCs, but four HUCs had only 44% to 64% of species remaining. Patterns of faunal similarity among HUCs in the two periods were congruent overall, indicating that relative patterns of faunal similarity had not changed among HUCs, but an increase in the mean similarity among HUCs in 1975–2009 relative to 1925–1927 suggests that there has been some level of faunal homogenization, which may be attributable to spread of centrarchids since the historical collections. Across the 14 HUCs, 15 of the 25 species were collected in at least 80% of the HUCs in 1975–2009 in which they were initially collected 1925–1927, four species were recollected in 60% to 75%, and six were recollected in fewer than 50%. Although fish distribution patterns appear to have changed little at the regional level, there are some changes evident at the smaller scale of HUCs, but even at that level, fishes present in collections made before the era of dam building are mostly still present in those drainages today.

© 2015 by the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists
William J. Matthews and Edie Marsh-Matthews "Comparison of Historical and Recent Fish Distribution Patterns in Oklahoma and Western Arkansas," Copeia 2015(1), (5 March 2015). https://doi.org/10.1643/CE-14-005
Received: 7 January 2014; Accepted: 27 August 2014; Published: 5 March 2015
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