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Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 188 (2014) 93–96

Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 188 (2014) 93–96 Contents lists available at ScienceDirect Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environmentn d i n g a u t h o r a t : D e p a r t m e n t o f E n v i r o n m e n t al Solution Technology, Faculty of Science and Technology, Ryukoku University, 1-5 Yokoya, Seta-Oe, Otsu 520-2194, Japan. Tel.: +81 77 544 7178. E-mail address: mitsuo4@gmail.com (Y. Mitsuo). http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2014.02.015 0167-8809/© 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. growth and sediment accumulation. Similarly, on traditional farm land in Japan, dredging is carried out on farm ponds approximately once every 5 years ( Hamashima et al., 2001 ). Moreover, there is a strong association between lake inhabitants and aquatic plants and lake morphology ( Teixeira-de-Mello et al., 2009; Tejerina-Garro et al., 1998 ); for example, aquatic plants provide habitat hetero- geneity for fish assemblages ( Tonn and Magnuson, 1982 ). Thus, it is predicted that habitat changes, caused by management operations, will have a major impact on fish assemblages in farm ponds. However, although many studies have been conducted on the restoration and management of lakes, little is known about the effect of management operations on organisms in small lentic sys- tems, such as farm ponds. Therefore, the objective of this research was to establish the relationship between fish assemblage struc- ture and habitat changes associated with management operations via a comparative study before and after a dredging event in a farm pond. 2. Materials and methods 2.1. Study pond The study site was located on agricultural land in Iwate Prefec- ture, northern Japan (39 11 N, 141 03 E). In many regions of Japan " id="pdf-obj-0-5" src="pdf-obj-0-5.jpg">

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Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment

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Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 188 (2014) 93–96 Contents lists available at ScienceDirect Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environmentn d i n g a u t h o r a t : D e p a r t m e n t o f E n v i r o n m e n t al Solution Technology, Faculty of Science and Technology, Ryukoku University, 1-5 Yokoya, Seta-Oe, Otsu 520-2194, Japan. Tel.: +81 77 544 7178. E-mail address: mitsuo4@gmail.com (Y. Mitsuo). http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2014.02.015 0167-8809/© 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. growth and sediment accumulation. Similarly, on traditional farm land in Japan, dredging is carried out on farm ponds approximately once every 5 years ( Hamashima et al., 2001 ). Moreover, there is a strong association between lake inhabitants and aquatic plants and lake morphology ( Teixeira-de-Mello et al., 2009; Tejerina-Garro et al., 1998 ); for example, aquatic plants provide habitat hetero- geneity for fish assemblages ( Tonn and Magnuson, 1982 ). Thus, it is predicted that habitat changes, caused by management operations, will have a major impact on fish assemblages in farm ponds. However, although many studies have been conducted on the restoration and management of lakes, little is known about the effect of management operations on organisms in small lentic sys- tems, such as farm ponds. Therefore, the objective of this research was to establish the relationship between fish assemblage struc- ture and habitat changes associated with management operations via a comparative study before and after a dredging event in a farm pond. 2. Materials and methods 2.1. Study pond The study site was located on agricultural land in Iwate Prefec- ture, northern Japan (39 11 N, 141 03 E). In many regions of Japan " id="pdf-obj-0-17" src="pdf-obj-0-17.jpg">

Short communication

Response of the fish assemblage structure in a small farm pond to management dredging operations

Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 188 (2014) 93–96 Contents lists available at ScienceDirect Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environmentn d i n g a u t h o r a t : D e p a r t m e n t o f E n v i r o n m e n t al Solution Technology, Faculty of Science and Technology, Ryukoku University, 1-5 Yokoya, Seta-Oe, Otsu 520-2194, Japan. Tel.: +81 77 544 7178. E-mail address: mitsuo4@gmail.com (Y. Mitsuo). http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2014.02.015 0167-8809/© 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. growth and sediment accumulation. Similarly, on traditional farm land in Japan, dredging is carried out on farm ponds approximately once every 5 years ( Hamashima et al., 2001 ). Moreover, there is a strong association between lake inhabitants and aquatic plants and lake morphology ( Teixeira-de-Mello et al., 2009; Tejerina-Garro et al., 1998 ); for example, aquatic plants provide habitat hetero- geneity for fish assemblages ( Tonn and Magnuson, 1982 ). Thus, it is predicted that habitat changes, caused by management operations, will have a major impact on fish assemblages in farm ponds. However, although many studies have been conducted on the restoration and management of lakes, little is known about the effect of management operations on organisms in small lentic sys- tems, such as farm ponds. Therefore, the objective of this research was to establish the relationship between fish assemblage struc- ture and habitat changes associated with management operations via a comparative study before and after a dredging event in a farm pond. 2. Materials and methods 2.1. Study pond The study site was located on agricultural land in Iwate Prefec- ture, northern Japan (39 11 N, 141 03 E). In many regions of Japan " id="pdf-obj-0-24" src="pdf-obj-0-24.jpg">

Yoshito Mitsuo a, , Hiroshi Tsunoda b , Genki Kozawa c , Masahide Yuma a

a Department of Environmental Solution Technology, Faculty of Science and Technology, Ryukoku University, 1-5 Yokotani, Seta-Oe, Otsu, Shiga 520-2194, Japan b Research Center for Wildlife Management, Gifu University, Yanagido, Gifu 501-1193, Japan c Department of Environmental Solution Technology, Graduate School of Science and Technology, Ryukoku University, 1-5 Yokotani, Seta-Oe, Otsu, Shiga 520-2194, Japan

a r

t i

c l e

i n f o

Article history:

Received 5 December 2013 Received in revised form 3 February 2014 Accepted 9 February 2014 Available online 12 March 2014

Keywords:

Farm pond

Management

Fish assemblage

Dissolved oxygen

a b s t r a c t

Artificial water bodies, including farm ponds, contribute to regional biodiversity by providing alternative habitats for many species. Although management operations, such as dredging, are commonly conducted in farm ponds to maintain their function, little is known about the effects of habitat change associated with such operations on fish assemblages. The objective of this research was to examine the relationship between fish assemblage structure and pond management and via a comparative study before and after

a dredging event. It was found that the fish assemblage structure was significantly different after the dredging event. Before dredging, extensive growth of aquatic macrophytes and low dissolved oxygen level were observed. Only two Cobitidae species, which have a tolerance to dissolved oxygen depletion, were recorded just before dredging. After dredging, the dissolved oxygen level and number of fish species had increased. The results indicated that management operations could change the fish assemblage structure via a shift in the dissolved oxygen level associated with changes in macrophyte coverage. © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction

As an alternative to natural wetlands, artificial water bodies located within an agricultural landscape can provide suitable habi- tats for many species (Céréghino et al., 2008; Tourenq et al., 2001). Because they support a greater number of unique and rare species relative to that found in other water bodies, farm ponds, in particu- lar, can contribute significantly to regional biodiversity (Biggs et al., 1994; Williams et al., 2004). In Japan, small farm ponds, the major- ity with a surface area <1 ha, have been constructed since the 4th century to irrigate rice paddy fields and are also important habitats for many organisms, including fish and dragonflies (Mitsuo et al., 2010; Takamura, 2012). The management and restoration of lakes and farm ponds, via operations such as dredging and plant removal, have been widely conducted to prevent silting and eutrophication (Phillips et al., 1999). Juan et al. (2012) has reported that dredging operations were performed on farm ponds in south-east Spain once every 8.6 years, on average, with the main aim of controlling excessive vegetation

Corresponding author at: Department of Environmental Solution Technology, Faculty of Science and Technology, Ryukoku University, 1-5 Yokoya, Seta-Oe, Otsu 520-2194, Japan. Tel.: +81 77 544 7178. E-mail address: mitsuo4@gmail.com (Y. Mitsuo).

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2014.02.015

0167-8809/© 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

growth and sediment accumulation. Similarly, on traditional farm land in Japan, dredging is carried out on farm ponds approximately once every 5 years (Hamashima et al., 2001). Moreover, there is a strong association between lake inhabitants and aquatic plants and lake morphology (Teixeira-de-Mello et al., 2009; Tejerina-Garro et al., 1998); for example, aquatic plants provide habitat hetero- geneity for fish assemblages (Tonn and Magnuson, 1982). Thus, it is predicted that habitat changes, caused by management operations, will have a major impact on fish assemblages in farm ponds. However, although many studies have been conducted on the restoration and management of lakes, little is known about the effect of management operations on organisms in small lentic sys- tems, such as farm ponds. Therefore, the objective of this research was to establish the relationship between fish assemblage struc- ture and habitat changes associated with management operations via a comparative study before and after a dredging event in a farm pond.

  • 2. Materials and methods

    • 2.1. Study pond

The study site was located on agricultural land in Iwate Prefec- ture, northern Japan (39 11 N, 141 03 E). In many regions of Japan

  • 94 Y. Mitsuo et al. / Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 188 (2014) 93–96

Table 1

List of fish species collected in the study pond.

 

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2012

sum

win

sum

win

sum

win

sum

win

sum

win

sum

win

sum

win

Carassius spp.

+

+

+

+

+

+

Pseudobagrus tokiensis

+

Rhodeus ocellatus ocellatus

+

+

+

Oryzias latipes

+

Cobitis biwae

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

Misgurnus anguillicaudatus

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

Rhinogobius sp. OR

+

+

+

+

+

+

Micropterus salmoides

+

+

+

+

Number of species

2

2

3

4

3

2

1

3

2

2

6

5

6

3

94 Y. Mitsuo et al. / Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 188 (2014) 93–96 Table 1 List

Fig. 1. Condition of the study pond (a) before dredging and (b) after dredging.

with low precipitation or topographical features that prevent water exchange with other systems, small farm ponds were constructed for irrigating rice fields. It is currently estimated that there are over

200,000 of these ponds in Japan (Uchida, 2003), and many of them are found within the study site (Mitsuo et al., 2011). One of these ponds, with a surface area of 2100 m 2 and maximum depth of 1 m, was continuously surveyed over a period of 7 years. The banks and bottom of the pond were mainly composed of natural materi- als and the pond served no purpose other than irrigation. An inlet channel flowed into the study pond throughout the year, and the pond never dried up. To prevent silting, dredging and removal of plant material was carried out by the local authorities in late win- ter 2009. In addition, no fish species were introduced into the pond during study period.

  • 2.2. Sampling

Between 2005 and 2012, the fish assemblage and various envi- ronmental factors were monitored twice a year (mid-summer and early winter). The fish population was sampled using a dip net (1-mm mesh), cast net (9.5-mm mesh) and minnow trap (60-mm entrance diameter) for 30 min at each monitoring time. After 2008, dissolved oxygen levels of surface water (DO; Lutron DO-5509), maximum depth (cm), vegetation coverage (nearest 5%) and tur- bidity (cm) were recorded during fish sampling. DO and turbidity of surface water were monitored in an area of open water 10:00 and 14:00 h.

  • 2.3. Analysis

Differences in species composition between samples before and after dredging were analyzed by a multi-response permutation procedure (MRPP) using presence–absence data by the “mrpp” function in the vegan package in R, which is a nonparametric method for testing the hypothesis of no differences between sam- ples by a Monte Carlo procedure (1000 permutations). Then, a multivariate generalized linear model (GLM) was used to quantify the contribution of all the measured environmental factors to fish

species richness. In the GLM analyses, a Poisson distribution was assumed for the number of species (response variable) with the default log link function in R. DO, turbidity, maximum depth, cover- age of aquatic plant and sampling year were included in the analysis as explanatory variables. Finally, a stepwise procedure was used to identify the most parsimonious and most accurate combination of explanatory variables using the AIC criterion. All statistical analyses were performed using R 2.12 (R Develop- ment Core Team 2011).

3. Results

Coverage of aquatic plants in the pond increased since the survey started in 2005 and the surface of the pond was almost totally covered by aquatic vegetation in the year before dredging (Fig. 1). Dissolved oxygen (DO) displayed relatively low values during 2007–2009 (i.e. before dredging) (Fig. 2), with the measured lowest value in 2009 of 4 mg/l. DO levels increased after dredging (Fig. 2), with a significant difference between before and after dredging operation (U-test, P < 0.05). A total of eight fish species were recorded during the monitoring program (Table 1). Only two species of Cobitidae (Misgurnus anguillicaudatus and Cobitis biwae) were recorded immediately before dredging. Species of Cyprinidae and

100 12 75 9 50 6 25 3 Vegetation DO 0 0 sum win sum win
100
12
75
9
50
6
25
3
Vegetation
DO
0
0
sum
win
sum
win
sum
win
sum
win
2008
2009
2010
2012
Vegeta tion coverag e (% ) ko
Dissolved ox yg en (mg /l)

Fig. 2. Changes in vegetation coverage and dissolved oxygen levels. Dissolved oxy- gen levels were significantly different before and after the dredging operation (U-test, P < 0.05).

Y. Mitsuo et al. / Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 188 (2014) 93–96

95

Table 2 Results of model selection for GLM. Models with AICc < 2 of the best model are shown.

Model rank

AIC

Variable

Coefficients

S.D.

Wald’s 2

1

31.54

Intercept

1.037

1.173

0.884

 

DO

2.862

1.401

2.042 *

2

32.77

Intercept

245.7

276.3

0.889

 

DO

2.377

1.554

1.53

Year

0.122

0.138

0.886

*

p < 0.05

Gobiidae were observed after dredging (Table 1) and MRPP analysis showed significant differences in the assemblage structures (Monte Carlo permutation test, P < 0.05). Species richness was also significantly different between before and after dredging (U-test, P < 0.001), with the number of species captured increasing after dredging (Table 1). Result of GLM analysis revealed that only DO was significantly positively associated with the number of species (Table 2).

4. Discussion

In the study pond, the surface area was almost totally covered by aquatic macrophytes, such as Trapa japonica and Phragmites australis, in 2009 (i.e. just before dredging). Previous studies have reported that aquatic macrophytes support fish species diversity by providing feeding and/or spawning sites (Beckett et al., 1992; Persson and Eklov, 1995). However, it has also been reported that extensive macrophyte stands can have a negative effect on fish assemblages (Dibble et al., 1997; Fuentes-Rodríguez et al., 2013). Dibble et al. (1997) have demonstrated that fish species richness is highest at an intermediate coverage of macrophyte (10–40%) and decreases at greater levels of coverage. In our study, the number of fish species decreased until finally only two species of Cobiti- dae were recorded before dredging. Although the mechanism for the effect of extensive macrophyte stands on fish assemblages is less well documented, it has been reported that excessive plant growth reduced the growth and condition of largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides), bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus) and redear sunfish (L. microlophus) (Colle and Shireman, 1980; Wiley et al., 1984). Wiley et al. (1984) attributed the facts to reduced for- aging efficiency. Moreover, decreases in dissolved oxygen levels due to the development of aquatic macrophytes have often been observed (Gee et al., 1997; Killgore and Hoover, 2001). In a pre- vious study conducted in 49 farm ponds in the same region, we also found a negative relationship between macrophyte coverage and the dissolved oxygen levels of open surface water. In addi- tion, Gee et al. (1997) found that the maximum percentage oxygen saturation recorded at 0.5-m depth intervals was negatively cor- related with the coverage of floating plants in small ponds in an agricultural area of the UK. In this study, the study pond had a low dissolved oxygen level before dredging; the lowest value measured was <5 mg/l which is recognized as a threshold level influenc- ing fish behavior (Kramer, 1987). Moreover, the two species of Cobitidae, which were observed immediately before dredging, can tolerate hypoxic conditions by air breathing (Robotham, 1982; McMahon and Burggrcn, 1987). Therefore, decreasing dissolved oxygen levels caused by extensive growth of macrophytes may restrict the number of fish species that could inhabit ponds, result- ing in a decrease in species richness. Similarly, Killgore and Hoover (2001) showed that, in an impoundment in southwest Arkansas, dissolved oxygen measured at the surface and bottom was neg- atively correlated with the coverage of aquatic plants and, under hypoxic conditions, fish assemblages were dominated by species that exhibited specific behavioral and morphological adaptations to hypoxia. After dredging, dissolved oxygen levels increased and a signifi- cant change in the fish assemblage structure was observed because

of colonization from surrounding water systems via the inlet chan- nel, with the pond being dominated by cyprinid species, including bitterling. Bitterling (Rhodeus ocellatus ocellatus) are widely dis- tributed in this area (Mitsuo et al., 2010) and there are no reports of species being adapted to hypoxic conditions. In addition, our results of GLM showed that dissolved oxygen is a significant predictor of species richness. These observations also indicate that changes in dissolved oxygen levels relative to aquatic macrophyte abundance can influence the fish assemblage in a small farm pond. Thus, the removal of aquatic macrophytes can change dissolved oxygen conditions and, consequently, have a major impact on fish assemblage structure in a farm pond. In lentic systems, top-down control of higher-order consumers is considered to have a stronger effect than in other systems (Halpern et al., 2005); disequilibrated fish assemblages can cause a dramatic shift in lake and pond ecosys- tems mainly through predation, i.e. trophic cascade (Carpenter and Kitchell, 1996). For example, it has been demonstrated that a reduc- tion in cyprinid numbers resulted in increasing transparency due to the considerably reduced phytoplankton biomass (Annadotter et al., 1999). It has also been reported that not only interspecific but also even intraspecific variations in foraging behavior influenced lower community structure (Post et al., 2008). Although it is com- mon management practice to remove aquatic macrophytes from lakes and farm ponds to prevent silting and eutrophication (Phillips et al., 1999), our results suggest that such management operations affect these aquatic ecosystems by changing the fish assemblage structure. Small ponds naturally tend to be covered by dense aquatic macrophytes (Céréghino et al., 2008). In this study, more than half the surface area of the pond was covered by macrophytes nearly one year after dredging. Thus, although small ponds make an impor- tant contribution to regional biodiversity owing to their high diversity (Oertli et al., 2002), the suspension or cessation of man- agement operations due to neglect or agriculture modernization would lead to homogenization of fish assemblages in small farm ponds, resulting from the development of hypoxic conditions.

5. Conclusions

This study demonstrated, via a 7-year monitoring program, the influence of dredging operations on the fish assemblage structure in a farm pond. Before dredging, extensive aquatic macrophyte stands covered the pond, dissolved oxygen levels were low and only two Cobitidae species, which have a tolerance to hypoxic con- ditions, were recorded. Conversely, after dredging, the number of fish species increased with increasing dissolved oxygen lev- els, and a significant change to the cyprinid assemblage was also observed. Although aquatic macrophytes are thought to contribute to fish species richness, our results suggest that excessive vegeta- tion growth can have a negative impact on fish assemblages. While fish are considered to have a major effect in lentic ecosystems, dredging operations, which are widely used to maintain the func- tion of lakes and ponds, can significantly change the structure of pond-dwelling fish by altering the dissolved oxygen level.

Acknowledgements

We are grateful to the staff of the city government of Oshu for their constant support that made this study possible. We also thank M. Ohira, R. Yokomizo, Y. Shono, Y. Yamamoto, M. Doi, and A. Takiguchi for field assistance, and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on former draft of this article. This work was partly supported by KAKENHI (19658088), (20-3522) and (23-

8703).

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