Publications by authors named "Nick R Bond"

14 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Modeling effects of disturbance across life history strategies of stream fishes.

Oecologia 2021 Jun 20;196(2):413-425. Epub 2021 May 20.

U.S. Geological Survey, Arkansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR, 72701, USA.

A central goal of population ecology is to establish linkages between life history strategy, disturbance, and population dynamics. Globally, disturbance events such as drought and invasive species have dramatically impacted stream fish populations and contributed to sharp declines in freshwater biodiversity. Here, we used RAMAS Metapop to construct stage-based demographic metapopulation models for stream fishes with periodic, opportunistic, and equilibrium life history strategies and assessed their responses to the effects of invasion (reduced carrying capacity), extended drought (reduced survival and fecundity), and the combined effects of both disturbances. Our models indicated that populations respond differentially to disturbance based on life history strategy. Equilibrium strategists were best able to deal with simulated invasion. Periodic strategists did well under lower levels of drought, whereas opportunistic strategists outperformed other life histories under extreme seasonal drought. When we modeled additive effects scenarios, these disturbances interacted synergistically, dramatically increasing terminal extinction risk for all three life history strategies. Modeling exercises that examine broad life history categories can help to answer fundamental ecological questions about the relationship between disturbance resilience and life history, as well as help managers to develop generalized conservation strategies when species-specific data are lacking. Our results indicate that life history strategy is a fundamental determinant of population trajectories, and that disturbances can interact synergistically to dramatically impact extinction outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00442-021-04941-8DOI Listing
June 2021

Stage-dependent effects of river flow and temperature regimes on the growth dynamics of an apex predator.

Glob Chang Biol 2020 Dec 15;26(12):6880-6894. Epub 2020 Oct 15.

Centre for Applied Water Science, University of Canberra, Bruce, ACT, Australia.

In the world's rivers, alteration of flow is a major driver of biodiversity decline. Global warming is now affecting the thermal and hydrological regimes of rivers, compounding the threat and complicating conservation planning. To inform management under a non-stationary climate, we must improve our understanding of how flow and thermal regimes interact to affect the population dynamics of riverine biota. We used long-term growth biochronologies, spanning 34 years and 400,000 km , to model the growth dynamics of a long-lived, apex predator (Murray cod) as a function of factors extrinsic (river discharge; air temperature; sub-catchment) and intrinsic (age; individual) to the population. Annual growth of Murray cod showed significant, curvilinear, life-stage-specific responses to an interaction between annual discharge and temperature. Growth of early juveniles (age 1+ and 2+ years) exhibited a unimodal relationship with annual discharge, peaking near median annual discharge. Growth of late juveniles (3+ to 5+) and adults (>5+) increased with annual discharge, with the rate of increase being particularly high in adults, whose growth peaked during years with flooding. Years with very low annual discharge, as experienced during drought and under high abstraction, suppress growth rates of all Murray cod life-stages. Unimodal relationships between growth and annual temperature were evident across all life stages. Contrary to expectations of the Temperature Size Rule, the annual air temperature at which maximum growth occurred increased with age. The stage-specific response of Murray cod to annual discharge indicates that no single magnitude of annual discharge is optimal for cod populations, adding further weight to the case for maintaining and/or restoring flow variability in riverine ecosystems. With respect to climate change impacts, on balance our results indicate that the primary mechanism by which climate change threatens Murray cod growth is through alteration of river flows, not through warming annual mean temperatures per se.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/gcb.15363DOI Listing
December 2020

Effects of a low-head weir on multi-scaled movement and behavior of three riverine fish species.

Sci Rep 2020 04 22;10(1):6817. Epub 2020 Apr 22.

Australian Rivers Institute, Griffith University, Nathan, Queensland, 4111, Australia.

Despite providing considerable benefits to society, dams and weirs threaten riverine ecosystems by disrupting movement and migration of aquatic animals and degrading riverine habitats. Whilst the ecological impacts of large dams are well studied, the ecological effects of low-head weirs that are periodically drowned out by high flows are less well-understood. Here we examine the effects of a low-head weir on fine- and broad-scale movements, habitat use, and breeding behaviour of three species of native freshwater fish in the Nymboida River in coastal eastern Australia. Acoustic telemetry revealed that eastern freshwater cod (Maccullochella ikei) and eel-tailed catfish (Tandanus tandanus) made few large-scale movements, but Australian bass (Percalates novemaculeata) upstream of the weir were significantly more mobile than those below the weir. Within the weir pool, all three species displayed distinctive patterns in fine-scale movement behaviour that were likely related the deeper lentic environment created by the weir. No individuals of any species crossed the weir during the study period. Tandanus tandanus nesting behaviour varied greatly above and below the weir, where individuals in the more lentic upstream environment nested in potentially sub-optimal habitats. Our results demonstrate the potential effects of low-head weirs on movement and behaviour of freshwater fishes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-63005-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7176731PMC
April 2020

Dissolved organic matter and metabolic dynamics in dryland lowland rivers.

Spectrochim Acta A Mol Biomol Spectrosc 2020 Mar 2;229:117871. Epub 2019 Dec 2.

La Trobe University, School of Life Science, Department of Ecology, Environment and Evolution, Centre for Freshwater Ecosystems, Albury/Wodonga Campus, Vic 3690, Australia.

Dissolved organic matter (DOM) within freshwaters is essential for broad ecosystem function. The concentration and type of DOM within rivers depends on the relative contributions of allochthonous sources and the production and consumption of DOM by microbes. In this work we have examined the temporal patterns in DOM quality and productivity in three lowland rivers in dryland Australia using fluorescence excitation emission scans. We assessed the production and consumption of DOM within light and dark bottle assays to quantify the relative contribution of bacteria and algae to the DOM pool and simultaneously assessed whether the systems were autotrophic or heterotrophic. DOM varied temporally within the three river systems over the course of the study period. Characterisation of DOM within light and dark bottles following a 6-hour incubation revealed microbial consumption of a humic-like component and production of protein-like components similar in nature to the amino acids tryptophan and tyrosine. The lack of a significant difference in DOM quality between the light and dark bottles indicated that the protein-like DOM is likely derived from bacterial activity. Respiration was shown to be higher than gross primary production in both whole river and bottle assays, yielding negative net production values and demonstrating that these rivers were predominately heterotrophic. Our work suggests that bacterial metabolism of DOM may be a significant contributor to the production of protein-like components within heterotrophic freshwater systems.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.saa.2019.117871DOI Listing
March 2020

Research priorities for natural ecosystems in a changing global climate.

Glob Chang Biol 2020 02 20;26(2):410-416. Epub 2019 Nov 20.

Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, North Ryde, NSW, Australia.

Climate change poses significant emerging risks to biodiversity, ecosystem function and associated socioecological systems. Adaptation responses must be initiated in parallel with mitigation efforts, but resources are limited. As climate risks are not distributed equally across taxa, ecosystems and processes, strategic prioritization of research that addresses stakeholder-relevant knowledge gaps will accelerate effective uptake into adaptation policy and management action. After a decade of climate change adaptation research within the Australian National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, we synthesize the National Adaptation Research Plans for marine, terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems. We identify the key, globally relevant priorities for ongoing research relevant to informing adaptation policy and environmental management aimed at maximizing the resilience of natural ecosystems to climate change. Informed by both global literature and an extensive stakeholder consultation across all ecosystems, sectors and regions in Australia, involving thousands of participants, we suggest 18 priority research topics based on their significance, urgency, technical and economic feasibility, existing knowledge gaps and potential for cobenefits across multiple sectors. These research priorities provide a unified guide for policymakers, funding organizations and researchers to strategically direct resources, maximize stakeholder uptake of resulting knowledge and minimize the impacts of climate change on natural ecosystems. Given the pace of climate change, it is imperative that we inform and accelerate adaptation progress in all regions around the world.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/gcb.14856DOI Listing
February 2020

Simulating rewetting events in intermittent rivers and ephemeral streams: A global analysis of leached nutrients and organic matter.

Glob Chang Biol 2019 05 25;25(5):1591-1611. Epub 2019 Feb 25.

Grup de Recerca Freshwater Ecology, Hydrology and Management (FEHM), Departament de Biologia Evolutiva, Ecologia i Ciències Ambientals, Institut de Recerca de la Biodiversitat (IRBio), Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.

Climate change and human pressures are changing the global distribution and the extent of intermittent rivers and ephemeral streams (IRES), which comprise half of the global river network area. IRES are characterized by periods of flow cessation, during which channel substrates accumulate and undergo physico-chemical changes (preconditioning), and periods of flow resumption, when these substrates are rewetted and release pulses of dissolved nutrients and organic matter (OM). However, there are no estimates of the amounts and quality of leached substances, nor is there information on the underlying environmental constraints operating at the global scale. We experimentally simulated, under standard laboratory conditions, rewetting of leaves, riverbed sediments, and epilithic biofilms collected during the dry phase across 205 IRES from five major climate zones. We determined the amounts and qualitative characteristics of the leached nutrients and OM, and estimated their areal fluxes from riverbeds. In addition, we evaluated the variance in leachate characteristics in relation to selected environmental variables and substrate characteristics. We found that sediments, due to their large quantities within riverbeds, contribute most to the overall flux of dissolved substances during rewetting events (56%-98%), and that flux rates distinctly differ among climate zones. Dissolved organic carbon, phenolics, and nitrate contributed most to the areal fluxes. The largest amounts of leached substances were found in the continental climate zone, coinciding with the lowest potential bioavailability of the leached OM. The opposite pattern was found in the arid zone. Environmental variables expected to be modified under climate change (i.e. potential evapotranspiration, aridity, dry period duration, land use) were correlated with the amount of leached substances, with the strongest relationship found for sediments. These results show that the role of IRES should be accounted for in global biogeochemical cycles, especially because prevalence of IRES will increase due to increasing severity of drying events.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/gcb.14537DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6850495PMC
May 2019

Monitoring age-related trends in genomic diversity of Australian lungfish.

Mol Ecol 2018 Jul 10. Epub 2018 Jul 10.

Australian Rivers Institute, Griffith University, Nathan, Qld, Australia.

An important challenge for conservation science is to detect declines in intraspecific diversity so that management action can be guided towards populations or species at risk. The lifespan of Australian lungfish (Neoceratodus forsteri) exceeds 80 years, and human impacts on breeding habitat over the last half century may have impeded recruitment, leaving populations dominated by old postreproductive individuals, potentially resulting in a small and declining breeding population. Here, we conduct a "single-sample" evaluation of genetic erosion within contemporary populations of the Australian lungfish. Genetic erosion is a temporal decline in intraspecific diversity due to factors such as reduced population size and inbreeding. We examined whether young individuals showed signs of reduced genetic diversity and/or inbreeding using a novel bomb radiocarbon dating method to age lungfish nonlethally, based on C ratios of scales. A total of 15,201 single nucleotide polymorphic (SNP) loci were genotyped in 92 individuals ranging in age from 2 to 77 years old. Standardized individual heterozygosity and individual inbreeding coefficients varied widely within and between riverine populations, but neither was associated with age, so perceived problems with recruitment have not translated into genetic erosion that could be considered a proximate threat to lungfish populations. Conservation concern has surrounded Australian lungfish for over a century. However, our results suggest that long-lived threatened species can maintain stable levels of intraspecific variability when sufficient reproductive opportunities exist over the course of a long lifespan.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/mec.14791DOI Listing
July 2018

Institutional impediments to conservation of freshwater dependent ecosystems.

Sci Total Environ 2018 Apr 28;621:407-416. Epub 2017 Nov 28.

School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria 3010, Australia; Centre of Excellence for Biosecurity Risk Analysis, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria 3010, Australia.

When freshwater resources become scarce there is a trade-off between human resource demands and environmental sustainability. The cost of conserving freshwater ecosystems can potentially be reduced by implementing institutional reforms that endow environmental water managers with a permanent water entitlement and the capacity to store, trade and release water. Australia's Murray Darling Basin Plan (MDBP) includes one of the world's most ambitious programs to recover water for the environment, supported by institutional reforms that allow environmental water managers to operate in water markets. One of the anticipated benefits of the Plan is to improve the health of flood-dependent forests, which are among the most endangered ecosystems globally because of river regulation and land clearance. However, periodic flooding to conserve floodplain ecosystems in the MDB creates losses to riparian landowners such as damage to fencing and temporary loss of access to flooded land. To reduce these losses reservoir operators restrict daily water release volumes. Using a model of optimal water management in Australia's southern MDB we estimate that current reservoir operating restrictions will substantially reduce the ecological benefits of investments made to recover water for the environment. The reduction in benefits is largest if floodplain forests decline rapidly without periodic inundation. In the latter circumstances, ecological losses cannot significantly be reduced by allowing environmental water managers to operate in water markets. Our findings demonstrate that the recovery of large volumes of water for environmental purposes and water market reforms are insufficient for conserving flood-dependent ecosystems without coordination and cooperation among multiple stakeholders responsible for water and land management.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.11.232DOI Listing
April 2018

Alternatives to biodiversity offsets for mitigating the effects of urbanization on stream ecosystems.

Conserv Biol 2018 08 16;32(4):789-797. Epub 2018 Apr 16.

School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences, The University of Melbourne, 500 Yarra Boulevard, Burnley, Victoria 3121, Australia.

Globally, offset schemes have emerged in many statutory frameworks relating to development activities, with the aim of balancing biodiversity conservation and development. Although the theory and use of biodiversity offsets in terrestrial environments is broadly documented, little attention has been paid to offsets in stream ecosystems. Here we examine the application of offset schemes to stream ecosystems and explore whether they suffer similar shortcomings to those of offset schemes focused on terrestrial biodiversity. To challenge the applicability of offsets further, we discuss typical trajectories of urban expansion and their cascading physical, chemical and biological impacts on stream ecosystems. We argue that the highly connected nature of stream ecosystems and urban drainage networks can transfer impacts of urbanization across wide areas, complicating the notion of like-for-like exchange and the prospect of effectively mitigating biodiversity loss. Instead, we identify in-catchment options for stormwater control, which can avoid or minimize the impacts of development on downstream ecosystems, while presenting additional public and private benefits. We describe the underlying principles of these alternatives, some of the challenges associated with their uptake, and policy initiatives being trialed to facilitate adoption. In conclusion, we argue that stronger policies to avoid and minimize the impacts of urbanization provide better prospects for protecting downstream ecosystems, and can additionally, stimulate economic opportunities and improve urban liveability.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cobi.13057DOI Listing
August 2018

High rates of organic carbon processing in the hyporheic zone of intermittent streams.

Sci Rep 2017 10 16;7(1):13198. Epub 2017 Oct 16.

Australian Rivers Institute, Griffith University, Nathan, Queensland, Australia.

Organic carbon cycling is a fundamental process that underpins energy transfer through the biosphere. However, little is known about the rates of particulate organic carbon processing in the hyporheic zone of intermittent streams, which is often the only wetted environment remaining when surface flows cease. We used leaf litter and cotton decomposition assays, as well as rates of microbial respiration, to quantify rates of organic carbon processing in surface and hyporheic environments of intermittent and perennial streams under a range of substrate saturation conditions. Leaf litter processing was 48% greater, and cotton processing 124% greater, in the hyporheic zone compared to surface environments when calculated over multiple substrate saturation conditions. Processing was also greater in more saturated surface environments (i.e. pools). Further, rates of microbial respiration on incubated substrates in the hyporheic zone were similar to, or greater than, rates in surface environments. Our results highlight that intermittent streams are important locations for particulate organic carbon processing and that the hyporheic zone sustains this fundamental process even without surface flow. Not accounting for carbon processing in the hyporheic zone of intermittent streams may lead to an underestimation of its local ecological significance and collective contribution to landscape carbon processes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-12957-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5643499PMC
October 2017

Confronting the risks of large-scale invasive species control.

Nat Ecol Evol 2017 May 23;1(6):172. Epub 2017 May 23.

School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41559-017-0172DOI Listing
May 2017

A framework for evaluating food-web responses to hydrological manipulations in riverine systems.

J Environ Manage 2017 Dec 4;203(Pt 1):136-150. Epub 2017 Aug 4.

The Murray-Darling Freshwater Research Centre, La Trobe University, PO Box 821, Wodonga, VIC 3689, Australia; CSIRO Land and Water, GPO Box 1700, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia.

Environmental flows are used to restore elements of the hydrological regime altered by human use of water. One of the primary justifications and purposes for environmental flows is the maintenance of target species populations but, paradoxically, there has been little emphasis on incorporating the food-web and trophic dynamics that determine population-level responses into the monitoring and evaluation of environmental flow programs. We develop a generic framework for incorporating trophic dynamics into monitoring programs to identify the food-web linkages between hydrological regimes and population-level objectives of environmental flows. These linkages form the basis for objective setting, ecological targets and indicator selection that are necessary for planning monitoring programs with a rigorous scientific basis. Because there are multiple facets of trophic dynamics that influence energy production and transfer through food webs, the specific objectives of environmental flows need to be defined during the development of monitoring programs. A multitude of analytical methods exist that each quantify distinct aspects of food webs (e.g. energy production, prey selection, energy assimilation), but no single method can provide a basis for holistic understanding of food webs. Our paper critiques a range of analytical methods for quantifying attributes of food webs to inform the setting, monitoring and evaluation of trophic outcomes of environmental flows and advance the conceptual understanding of trophic dynamics in river-floodplain systems.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2017.07.040DOI Listing
December 2017

Fish population persistence in hydrologically variable landscapes.

Ecol Appl 2015 Jun;25(4):901-13

Forecasting population persistence in environments subjected to periodic disturbances represents a general challenge for ecologists. In arid and semiarid regions, climate change and human water use pose significant threats to the future persistence of aquatic biota whose populations typically depend on permanent refuge waterholes for their viability. As such, habitats are increasingly being lost as a result of decreasing runoff and increasing water extraction. We constructed a spatially explicit population model for golden perch Macquaria ambigua (Richardson), a native freshwater fish in the Murray-Darling Basin in eastern Australia. We then used the model to examine the effects of increased aridity, increased drought frequency, and localized human water extraction on population viability. Consistent with current observations, the model predicted golden perch population persistence under the current climate and levels of water use. Modeled increases in local water extraction greatly increased the risk of population decline, while scenarios of increasing aridity and drought frequency were associated with only minor increases in this risk. We conclude that natural variability in abundances and high turnover rates (extinction/recolonization) of local populations dictate the importance of spatial connectivity and periodic cycles of population growth. Our study also demonstrates an effective way to examine population persistence in intermittent and ephemeral river systems by integrating spatial and temporal dynamics of waterhole persistence with demographic processes (survival, recruitment, and dispersal) within a stochastic modeling framework. The approach can be used to help understand the impacts of natural and anthropogenic drivers, including water resource development, on the viability of biota inhabiting highly dynamic environments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1890/14-1618.1DOI Listing
June 2015
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