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A river ran through it
Date:10/14/2010

still missing large-bodied fishes compared to same sized streams that never dried. That is the major difference," Sabo explained. "Our data show that food webs can recover sooner after a flood, in roughly a year, but it takes far longer to recover in the case of drying or drought."

The study hints that competing users of the river water agricultural production and recreational uses like fishing need to work out amenable use of rivers and streams that not only look to the immediate future, but also project long term effects of their use.

"The question becomes can you have fish and tomatoes on the same table," Sabo said. "They compete for the same resource and society depends on both agriculture for grain, fruits, vegetables and river-caught fish for protein, particularly in the developing world."

"Humans may need to make some really hard decisions about how to allocate water so that we grow the right food but still leave enough in the rivers to sustain fish populations," he said. "Some river fish, like salmon in the U.S., are very important commercially."

Sabo added that scientists appear to be on the cusp of major advances in understanding how climate and human use of rivers affects biodiversity and global water security. This paper fits into this bigger picture because it suggests that some aspects of climate and human effects on biodiversity are mediated by the variability in freshwater supplies and thus, could have feedbacks on food security in regions of the world where freshwater fisheries are a significant source of protein for growing populations.


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Contact: Skip Derra
skip.derra@asu.edu
480-965-4823
Arizona State University
Source:Eurekalert  

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