TCU 444: Food habits of SGCN fishes to inform habitat assessment and restoration in the Red River basin
January 2023 - August 2024
- Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
The ecology of many prairie stream fishes is not well understood, despite long recognition that these fishes are negatively affected by stream flow alterations, habitat degradation, fragmentation, and invasive species. River regulation and degraded riparian habitat due to salinization and invasive species have the potential to diminish resource heterogeneity that supports riverine food-webs of prairie fishes. The primary objectives of our study are to (1) characterize spatial and temporal variation of Red River Shiner, Red River Pupfish, Plains Minnow, and Prairie Chub food habits, (2) determine the degree to which aquatic (autochthonous) and terrestrial (allochthonous) resources are utilized, and (3) describe age and growth of selected Red River fish populations. This research is a collaboration with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Information from this project will aid conservation efforts by identifying broad habitat types (instream, riparian) that support Red River Shiner and other prairie fish growth and production in the Upper Red River. This fundamental ecological information will describe baseline conditions and identify species-specific traits that can be used to evaluate consequences of habitat change and for predictive modeling.