Mueller JS, TB Grabowski, SK Brewer, & TA Worthington. 2017. Effects of temperature, dissolved solids, and suspended solids on the survival and development of larval Arkansas River Shiner. Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management 8:79-88.
Decreases in the abundance and diversity of stream fishes in the North American Great Plains have been attributed to habitat fragmentation, altered hydrological and temperature regimes, and elevated levels of total dissolved solids and total suspended solids. Pelagic-broadcast spawning cyprinids, such as the Arkansas River Shiner Notropis girardi, may be particularly vulnerable to these changing conditions due to their reproductive strategy. Our objectives were to assess the effects of temperature, total dissolved solids, and total suspended solids on the developmental and survival rates of Arkansas River Shiner larvae. Results suggest temperature had the greatest influence on the developmental rate of Arkansas River Shiner larvae. However, embryos exposed to the higher levels of total dissolved solids and total suspended solids reached developmental stages earlier than counterparts at equivalent temperatures. Although this rapid development may be beneficial in fragmented waters, our data suggest it may be associated with lower survival rates. Furthermore, those embryos incubating at high temperatures, or in high levels of total dissolved solids and total suspended solids resulted in less viable embryos and larvae than those incubating in all other temperature, total dissolved solid, and total suspended solid treatment groups. As the Great Plains ecoregion continues to change, these results may assist in understanding reasons for past extirpations and future extirpation threats as well as predict stream reaches capable of sustaining Arkansas River Shiners and other species with similar early life-history strategies.