Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Earth Science News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



WATER WORLD
Loss of 350 miles of Great Plains streams causing changes in aquatic food web
by Staff Writers
Manhattan, KS (SPX) Aug 03, 2017


A comparison of a section of the Arikaree River in northwest Kansas in 2006 on the left and in 1996 on the right shows the decreased water flow. Credit Photos courtesy of Ryan Waters, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.

The food web in Great Plains streams could be unraveling, according to a Kansas State University ecologist.

Keith Gido, professor of biology, and Josh Perkin, a Kansas State University alumnus, recently published "Groundwater declines are linked to changes in Great Plains stream fish assemblages" in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The research maps the loss of stream habitat for many small fish in the Great Plains region and attributes it to declining groundwater sources.

"This is one of the first examples that links groundwater depletion to changes in the biotic communities of the river," Gido said. "We've lost more than 350 miles of stream in the last 65 years because of a reduction in the groundwater, and we expect we will lose another 180 miles of stream by 2060."

According to the research, the reduction of the region's streams is changing the fish community. Several species of fish that were once plentiful in the Great Plains and serve an important role in the food web are no longer found in the area.

"One of our main findings is a transformation of the fish community," Gido said. "We are seeing fish communities change from species that are adapted to large, free-flowing rivers to species that occupy small streams with isolated habitats."

The fish that have already been lost or are most at risk in Kansas streams include the plains minnow and the shoal chub. Even several species such as the red shiner and sand shiner, which were thought to be plentiful, are declining as a result of reduced stream habitat, according to Perkin, who was the lead researcher for the study and is now an assistant professor at Texas A and M University.

"Not only have today's rare fish - once common in Kansas - continued to decline, but we also found evidence that the fish that are common today may become rare fish in the future if this problem isn't addressed," Perkin said.

Gido said that even though the fish documented as declining in the study may not have sport fish status like walleye and bass, these smaller fish still have great importance in the diversity and food web of Kansas streams.

"Many of the species that we documented in this paper are not used for recreational purposes but are still an important part of the ecosystem," Gido said. "The larger predators that more humans enjoy for recreational fishing might have some dependency on those smaller species and the consequences of losing those species are very uncertain."

All species of at-risk fish prefer larger, fast-flowing waters and reproduce by spawning above the riverbed so the eggs float downstream. The 2011 and 2012 droughts combined with decreasing groundwater that feeds the streams and many dams have changed the fish habitat and prevent fish from swimming back upstream to start the reproductive cycle over again, Gido said.

Gido, Perkin and their colleagues at the U.S. Geological Survey, Colorado State University, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Westar Energy and The Nature Conservancy used groundwater well data from the 1950s to 2010 to track the rate of change in the water table of the High Plains Aquifer. They compared it to the historic record of how the fish community has changed at the same time. From there, they were able to calculate predictions for the next 50 years.

Other biologists in the region have documented similar patterns of change. Ryan Waters, stream ecologist with Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, has pictures taken several decades apart of a northwest Kansas section of the Arikaree River, which was included in the study.

Waters' photos compared to a photo before 1990 from Suzanne Collins, professional wildlife photographer, show a wide river before 1990, a narrower river in 1996 and no water in 2006. According to Gido, the decreased flow in the streams like the Arikaree is attributed to a depleted aquifer, or water table, in the Great Plains.

"When the elevation of the water table is higher than the elevation of the stream, water flows from the water table into the stream and it maintains water in that stream," Gido said.

"When the elevation of that water table drops below the elevation of the stream, then the water moves from the stream into the ground. During droughts it's much more likely that streams will dry up completely if the water table also is low."

Gido and his students are trying to help the species overcome difficulties. They have worked with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism and the city of Wichita to evaluate the use of fish ladders at dams that allow fish to swim upstream.

Gido also has consulted with the Kansas Aquatic Biodiversity Center at the Farlington Fish Hatchery near Girard as the hatchery begins breeding some of the most threatened species to stock Kansas streams and rivers, much like agencies already do for sport fish.

"My career has shifted to where I'm really trying to use our research to facilitate these conservation actions on the ground," Gido said. "We still do our research but at the end of the day, to sleep well at night, it really helps me feel like I've done something important if I'm helping with conservation, too."

Research paper

WATER WORLD
'Missing lead' in Flint water pipes confirms cause of crisis
Ann Arbor MI (SPX) Jul 31, 2017
A study of lead service lines in Flint's damaged drinking water system reveals a Swiss cheese pattern in the pipes' interior crust, with holes where the lead used to be. The findings - led by researchers at the University of Michigan - support the generally accepted understanding that lead leached into the system because that water wasn't treated to prevent corrosion. While previous studie ... read more

Related Links
Kansas State University
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

WATER WORLD
Elephants, tigers kill one human a day in India

Tech advances will lead to MH370 discovery - Malaysia Airlines

New phase change mechanism could lead to new class of chemical vapor sensors

Robot finds possible melted fuel inside Fukushima reactor

WATER WORLD
Reality check for 'wonder material'

Fundamental breakthrough in the future of designing materials

Engineering on a blue streak

Scientists discover new magnet with nearly massless charge carriers

WATER WORLD
'Missing lead' in Flint water pipes confirms cause of crisis

Risky business for fish in oil-polluted reef waters

Japanese seaweed is welcome invader on US coasts: study

Climate change deepens threat to Pacific island wildlife

WATER WORLD
Methane-eating microbes may curb gas emissions as Antarctic ice sheets melt

A new model yields insights into glaciers' retreats and advances

NASA flights gauge summer sea ice melt in the Arctic

Thawing permafrost releases old greenhouse gas

WATER WORLD
Neolithic farmers practiced specialized methods of cattle farming

Global warming reduces protein in key crops: study

Disneyland China falls a-fowl of huge turkey leg demand

Adjusting fertilizers vital in claypan ag soils

WATER WORLD
Lightning kills 21 as India reels from floods

Florida gears up for Tropical Storm Emily

Taiwan hit by second storm after Nesat injures 111

Floods and power-outages as Taiwan battered by Typhoon Nesat

WATER WORLD
China opens first chamber of commerce in I.Coast

Senegal ruling party coalition claims election landslide

European support for Sahel 'mutually reinforcing': Germany

Adama Barrow: how do you solve a problem like The Gambia?

WATER WORLD
Cultural flexibility was key to surviving extreme dry periods in Africa

Shedding light deeper into the human brain

Identifying major transitions in human cultural evolution

How did early humans survive aridity and prolonged drought in Africa




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement