A connectivity analysis of the aquatic ecosystems of the Saint Lawrence Lowlands

Poster session
Partie de:
vendredi 20 déc. 11:30 AM (1 heure)
Dîner   12:30 PM à 01:30 PM (1 heure)
Salle ABCD
Rivers and streams are among the most threatened ecosystems today faced with increased land use modification and a changing climate. In the rapidly urbanizing and growing region of the St. Lawrence Lowlands these ecosystems are threatened by fragmentation at the hands of increasing infrastructure to support a growing developing human population. Maintaining connectivity in these systems allows fish to migrate and complete their lifecycle, and in the longer term shift their ranges in response to a changing climate. In this project, I aim to assess the streams and barriers in the watersheds of the St. Lawrence Lowlands to prioritize conservation efforts with respect to fish connectivity. Further I aim to uncover the link between fish biodiversity and watershed-level connectivity in this region. I expect to find, as other studies have found in other regions, connectivity in streams is most strongly affected by only a few barriers in key locations and that increased connectivity contributes positively to fish biodiversity by promoting access to key feeding and breeding habitats across the landscape. I will use an adapted dendritic connectivity index to determine the extent to which barriers on streams such as dams, road crossings, lakes, and unfavourable habitat reduce the amount of available habitat for a suite of representative fish species spanning a range of conservation, commercial and recreational interests. I will perform this assessment across all major watersheds in the St. Lawrence Lowlands to understand how differences in watershed-level connectivity can alter the fish biodiversity they contain.

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